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Nat Cell Biol. 2002 Jan;4(1):11-9.

Homeodomain-interacting protein kinase-2 phosphorylates p53 at Ser 46 and mediates apoptosis.

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  • 1Molecular Oncogenesis Laboratory, Regina Elena Cancer Institute, Via delle Messi d Oro 156, 00158 Rome, Italy.


Phosphorylation of p53 at Ser 46 was shown to regulate p53 apoptotic activity. Here we demonstrate that homeodomain-interacting protein kinase-2 (HIPK2), a member of a novel family of nuclear serine/threonine kinases, binds to and activates p53 by directly phosphorylating it at Ser 46. HIPK2 localizes with p53 and PML-3 into the nuclear bodies and is activated after irradiation with ultraviolet. Antisense inhibition of HIPK2 expression reduces the ultraviolet-induced apoptosis. Furthermore, HIPK2 and p53 cooperate in the activation of p53-dependent transcription and apoptotic pathways. These data define a new functional interaction between p53 and HIPK2 that results in the targeted subcellular localization of p53 and initiation of apoptosis.

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