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Oncogene. 2003 Apr 24;22(16):2432-42.

THAP1 is a nuclear proapoptotic factor that links prostate-apoptosis-response-4 (Par-4) to PML nuclear bodies.

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Laboratoire de Biologie Vasculaire, Institut de Pharmacologie et de Biologie Structurale, CNRS UMR 5089, 205 route de Narbonne, 31077 Toulouse, France.


Promyelocytic leukemia (PML) nuclear bodies (PML NBs) are discrete subnuclear domains organized by the promyelocytic leukemia protein PML, a tumor suppressor essential for multiple apoptotic pathways. We have recently described a novel family of cellular factors, the THAP proteins, characterized by the presence at their amino-terminus of an evolutionary conserved putative DNA-binding motif, designated THAP domain. Here, we report that THAP1 is a novel nuclear proapoptotic factor associated with PML NBs, which potentiates both serum withdrawal- and TNF alpha-induced apoptosis, and interacts with prostate-apoptosis-response-4 (Par-4), a well characterized proapoptotic factor, previously linked to prostate cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. We show that endogenous Par-4 colocalizes with ectopic THAP1 within PML NBs in primary endothelial cells and fibroblasts. In addition, we found that Par-4 is a component of PML NBs in blood vessels, a major site of PML expression in vivo. Finally, we investigated the role of the THAP domain in THAP1 activities and found that this putative DNA-binding domain is not required for Par-4 binding and localization within PML NBs, but is essential for THAP1 proapoptotic activity. Together, our results provide an unexpected link between a nuclear factor of the THAP family, the proapoptotic protein Par-4 and PML nuclear bodies.

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