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Nat Cell Biol. 2003 Jul;5(7):655-60.

Inactivating E2f1 reverts apoptosis resistance and cancer sensitivity in Trp53-deficient mice.

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Department of Therapeutic Radiology, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520 USA.


The E2f1 transcription factor, which regulates genes required for S-phase entry, also induces apoptosis by transcriptional and post-translational mechanisms. As E2f1 is inducible by DNA damage we investigated its importance in vivo in ultraviolet (UV)-induced apoptosis, a protective mechanism that prevents the epidermis from accumulating UV-induced mutations. Contrary to expectation, E2f1-/- mice demonstrated enhanced keratinocyte apoptosis after UVB exposure, whereas apoptosis was suppressed by epidermis-specific overexpression of human E2F1. Apoptosis induced by -radiation was also repressed by E2f1. E2f1-/-;Trp53-/- double knockout mice exhibited the elevated UVB-induced apoptosis of E2f1-/- alone, rather than the profound apoptosis defect seen in Trp53-/- mice, indicating that Trp53 (p53) lies functionally upstream of E2f1. Transfecting E2F1 into E2f1-/-;Trp53-/- primary fibroblasts suppressed UVB-induced apoptosis and this suppression was relieved by Trp53. The double knockout also reverted the abnormal sex ratio and early-onset tumours of Trp53-/- mice. These results imply that E2f1 functions as a suppressor of an apoptosis pathway that is initiated by DNA photoproducts and perhaps genetic abnormalities; p53 relieves this suppression.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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