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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2002 Nov 26;99(24):15632-7. Epub 2002 Nov 15.

Gene expression profiling of isogenic cells with different TP53 gene dosage reveals numerous genes that are affected by TP53 dosage and identifies CSPG2 as a direct target of p53.

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Human Cancer Genetics Program, Comprehensive Cancer Center, Ohio State University, 420 West 12th Avenue, Columbus 43210, USA.


TP53 does not fully comply with the Knudson model [Knudson, A. G., Jr. (1971) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 68, 820-823] in that a reduction of constitutional expression of p53 may be sufficient for tumor predisposition. This finding suggests a gene-dosage effect for p53 function. To determine whether TP53 gene dosage affects the transcriptional regulation of target genes, we performed oligonucleotide-array gene expression analysis by using human cells with wild-type p53 (p53 +/+), or with one (p53 +/-), or both (p53 -/-) TP53 alleles disrupted by homologous recombination. We identified 35 genes whose expression is significantly correlated to the dosage of TP53. These genes are involved in a variety of cellular processes including signal transduction, cell adhesion, and transcription regulation. Several of them are involved in neurogenesis and neural crest migration, developmental processes in which p53 is known to play a role. Motif search analysis revealed that of the genes highly expressed in p53 +/+ and +/- cells, several contain a putative p53 consensus binding site (bs), suggesting that they could be directly regulated by p53. Among those genes, we chose CSPG2 (which encodes versican) for further study because it contains a bona fide p53 bs in its first intron and its expression highly correlates with TP53 dosage. By using in vitro and in vivo assays, we showed CSPG2 to be directly transactivated by p53. In conclusion, we developed a strategy to demonstrate that many genes are affected by TP53 gene dosage for their expression. We report several candidate genes as potential downstream targets of p53 in nonstressed cells. Among them, CSPG2 is validated as being directly transactivated by p53. Our method provides a useful tool to elucidate additional mechanisms by which p53 exerts its functions.

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