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J Biol Chem. 2001 Nov 16;276(46):43305-12. Epub 2001 Sep 10.

Plk3 functionally links DNA damage to cell cycle arrest and apoptosis at least in part via the p53 pathway.

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American Health Foundation, Valhalla, New York 10595, USA.


Polo-like kinase 3 (Plk3, previously termed Prk) contributes to regulation of M phase of the cell cycle (Ouyang, B., Pan, H., Lu, L., Li, J., Stambrook, P., Li, B., and Dai, W. (1997) J. Biol. Chem. 272, 28646-28651). Plk3 physically interacts with Cdc25C and phosphorylates this protein phosphatase predominantly on serine 216 (Ouyang, B., Li, W., Pan, H., Meadows, J., Hoffmann, I., and Dai, W. (1999) Oncogene 18, 6029-6036), suggesting that the role of Plk3 in mitosis is mediated, at least in part, through direct regulation of Cdc25C. Here we show that ectopic expression of a kinase-active Plk3 (Plk3-A) induced apoptosis. In response to DNA damage, the kinase activity of Plk3 was rapidly increased in an ATM-dependent manner, whereas that of Plk1 was markedly inhibited. Recombinant Plk3 phosphorylated in vitro a glutathione S-transferase fusion protein containing p53, but not glutathione S-transferase alone. Recombinant Plk1 also phosphorylated p53 but on residues that differed from those targeted by Plk3. Co-immunoprecipitation and pull-down assays demonstrated that Plk3 physically interacted with p53 and that this interaction was enhanced upon DNA damage. In vitro kinase assays followed by immunoblotting showed that serine 20 of p53 was a target of Plk3. Furthermore, expression of a kinase-defective Plk3 mutant (Plk3(K52R)) resulted in significant reduction of p53 phosphorylation on serine 20, which was correlated with a decrease in the expression of p21 and with a concomitant increase in cell proliferation. These results strongly suggest that Plk3 functionally links DNA damage to cell cycle arrest and apoptosis via the p53 pathway.

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