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Oncogene. 2005 Feb 24;24(9):1641-7.

Redox factor 1 (Ref-1) enhances specific DNA binding of p53 by promoting p53 tetramerization.

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Heinrich-Pette-Institute for Experimental Virology and Immunology at the University of Hamburg, Martinistr. 52, D-20251 Hamburg, Germany.


Sequence-specific DNA binding is a major activity of the tumor suppressor p53 and a prerequisite for the transactivating potential of the protein. p53 interaction with target DNA is tightly regulated by various mechanisms, including binding of different components of the transcription machinery, post-translational modifications, and interactions with other factors that modulate p53 transactivation in a cell context- and promoter-specific manner. The bi-functional redox factor 1 (Ref-1/APE1) has been identified as one of the factors, which can stimulate p53 DNA binding by redox-dependent as well as redox-independent mechanisms. Whereas stimulation of p53 DNA binding by the redox activities of Ref-1 is understood quite well, little is known about mechanisms that underlie the redox-independent effects of Ref-1. We report in this study a previously unknown activity of Ref-1 as a factor promoting tetramerization of p53. We demonstrate that Ref-1 promotes association of dimers into tetramers, and de-stacking of higher oligomeric forms into the tetrameric form in vitro, thereby enhancing p53 binding to target DNA.

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