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Cell. 2003 Oct 17;115(2):177-86.

Homeodomain interacting protein kinase 2 promotes apoptosis by downregulating the transcriptional corepressor CtBP.

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Vollum Institute, Oregon Health and Science University, 3181 S.W. Sam Jackson Park Road, Portland, OR 97239, USA.


Genetic knockout of the transcriptional corepressor CtBP in mouse embryo fibroblasts upregulates several genes involved in apoptosis. We predicted, therefore, that a propensity toward apoptosis might be regulated through changes in cellular CtBP. To identify pathways involved in this regulation, we screened a mouse embryo cDNA library with an E1A-CtBP complex and identified the homeodomain interacting protein kinase 2 (HIPK2), which had previously been linked to UV-directed apoptosis through its ability to phosphorylate p53. Expression of HIPK2 or exposure to UV irradiation reduced CtBP levels via a proteosome-mediated pathway. The UV effect was prevented by coexpression of kinase-inactive HIPK2 or reduction in HIPK2 levels via siRNA. Mutation of the residue phosphorylated by HIPK2 prevented UV- and HIPK2-directed CtBP clearance. Finally, reduction in CtBP levels, either by genetic knockout or siRNA, promoted apoptosis in p53-deficient cells. These findings provide a pathway for UV-induced apoptosis in cells lacking p53.

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