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Oncogene. 2001 Jan 11;20(2):240-51.

Negative regulation of bcl-2 expression by p53 in hematopoietic cells.

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The Center for Molecular Biology in Medicine, Palo Alto Veterans Affairs Medical Center and the Department of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305-5112, USA.


The p53 protein activates promoters containing p53 binding sites, and it represses other promoters. We examined the effect of p53 on bcl-2 expression in both the DHL-4 B cell line and the K562 erythroleukemia line. Transient transfection analyses revealed that wild-type p53 repressed the bcl-2 full-length promoter. The region of the bcl-2 promoter that was responsive to p53 was mapped to the bcl-2 P2 minimal promoter region, and we showed that p53 and the TATA binding protein bound to the bcl-2 TATA sequence. The TATA binding protein, p53, histone deacetylase-1 and mSin3a could be co-immunoprecipitated from K562 cell nuclear extract. The TATA binding protein and mSin3a could be recovered in a complex at the bcl-2 promoter TATA sequence, however, the formation of this complex was not dependent on the presence of p53. Treatment of K562 cells with the histone deacetylase inhibitor, trichostatin A, resulted in an increase in bcl-2 promoter activity whether p53 was present or not. Therefore, we demonstrated that p53 and the histone deacetylases repress the bcl-2 promoter independently. Similar results were obtained when endogenous bcl-2 mRNA or protein levels were measured in response to either p53 or trichostatin A, and p53 expression resulted in enhanced apoptosis. RNase protection assays demonstrated that transcription from the endogenous 3' bcl-2 promoter was decreased by p53. The regions of p53 that were required for repression of the bcl-2 promoter were defined. We conclude that the TATA sequence in the bcl-2 P2 minimal promoter is the target for repression by p53, and that the interaction between p53 and TBP is most likely responsible for the repression. Mutation of p53 may play a role in the up-regulation of bcl-2 expression in some B cell lymphomas.

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