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Mol Cell Biol. 2001 Jul;21(14):4670-83.

ZBP-89 promotes growth arrest through stabilization of p53.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.


Transcription factor p53 can induce growth arrest and/or apoptosis in cells through activation or repression of downstream target genes. Recently, we reported that ZBP-89 cooperates with histone acetyltransferase coactivator p300 in the regulation of p21(waf1), a cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor whose associated gene is a target gene of p53. Therefore, we examined whether ZBP-89 might also inhibit cell growth by activating p53. In the present study, we demonstrate that elevated levels of ZBP-89 induce growth arrest and apoptosis in human gastrointestinal cell lines. The ZBP-89 protein accumulated within 4 h, and the p53 protein accumulated within 16 h, of serum starvation without changes in p14ARF levels, demonstrating a physiological increase in the cellular levels of these two proteins. Overexpression of ZBP-89 stabilized the p53 protein and enhanced its transcriptional activity through direct protein-protein interactions. The DNA binding and C-terminal domains of p53 and the zinc finger domain of ZBP-89 mediated the interaction. A point mutation in the p53 DNA binding domain, R273H, greatly reduced ZBP-89-mediated stabilization but not their physical interaction. Furthermore, ZBP-89 formed a complex with p53 and MDM2 and therefore did not prevent the MDM2-p53 interaction. However, heterokaryon assays demonstrated that ZBP-89 retained p53 in the nucleus. Collectively, these data indicate that ZBP-89 regulates cell proliferation in part through its ability to directly bind the p53 protein and retard its nuclear export. Our findings further our understanding of how ZBP-89 modulates cell proliferation and reveals a novel mechanism by which the p53 protein is stabilized.

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