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Cell. 1992 Nov 27;71(5):875-86.

Regulation of the specific DNA binding function of p53.

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Cancer Research Campaign Laboratories, Department of Biochemistry, University of Dundee, Scotland.


The DNA binding activity of p53 is required for its tumor suppressor function; we show here that this activity is cryptic but can be activated by cellular factors acting on a C-terminal regulatory domain of p53. A gel mobility shift assay demonstrated that recombinant wild-type human p53 binds DNA sequence specifically only weakly, but a monoclonal antibody binding near the C terminus activated the cryptic DNA binding activity stoichiometrically. p53 DNA binding could be activated by a C-terminal deletion of p53, mild proteolysis of full-length p53, E. coli dnaK (which disrupts protein-protein complexes), or casein kinase II (and coincident phosphorylation of a C-terminal site on p53). Activation of p53 DNA binding may be critical in regulation of its ability to arrest cell growth and thus its tumor suppressor function.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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