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Oncogene. 2001 May 3;20(20):2587-99.

Functional analysis and intracellular localization of p53 modified by SUMO-1.

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Department of Molecular Genetics, College of Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago, 900 South Ashland Avenue, Chicago, Illinois, IL 60607, USA.


p53 tumor suppressor is a subject of several post-translational modifications, including phosphorylation, ubiquitination and acetylation, which regulate p53 function. A new covalent modification of p53 at lysine 386 by SUMO-1 was recently identified. To elucidate the function of sumoylated p53, we compared the properties of wild type p53 and sumoylation-deficient p53 mutant, K386R. No differences were found between wild type p53 and K386R mutant of p53 in transactivation or growth suppression assays. Moreover, overexpression of SUMO-1 has no effect on p53-regulated transcription. Biochemical fractionation showed that sumoylated p53 is localized in the nucleus and is tightly bound to chromatin structures. p53 and SUMO-1 co-localized in PML nuclear bodies in 293 cells and the nucleoli in MCF7 and HT1080 cells. However, sumoylation-deficient p53 mutant showed a similar pattern of intranuclear localization, suggesting that SUMO-1 does not target p53 to subnuclear structures. These data indicate that SUMO-1 modification of p53 at lysine 386 may not be essential for p53's cellular localization, transcriptional activation, or growth regulation.

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