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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2005 Apr 5;102(14):5056-61. Epub 2005 Mar 23.

Phosphorylation of Hdmx mediates its Hdm2- and ATM-dependent degradation in response to DNA damage.

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The David and Inez Myers Laboratory for Genetic Research, Department of Human Genetics and Molecular Medicine, Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv 69978, Israel.


Maintenance of genomic stability depends on the DNA damage response, an extensive signaling network that is activated by DNA lesions such as double-strand breaks (DSBs). The primary activator of the mammalian DSB response is the nuclear protein kinase ataxia-telangiectasia, mutated (ATM), which phosphorylates key players in various arms of this network. The activation and stabilization of the p53 protein play a major role in the DNA damage response and are mediated by ATM-dependent posttranslational modifications of p53 and Mdm2, a ubiquitin ligase of p53. p53's response to DNA damage also depends on Mdm2-dependent proteolysis of Mdmx, a homologue of Mdm2 that represses p53's transactivation function. Here we show that efficient damage-induced degradation of human Hdmx depends on functional ATM and at least three sites on the Hdmx that are phosphorylated in response to DSBs. One of these sites, S403, is a direct ATM target. Accordingly, each of these sites is important for Hdm2-mediated ubiquitination of Hdmx after DSB induction. These results demonstrate a sophisticated mechanism whereby ATM fine-tunes the optimal activation of p53 by simultaneously modifying each player in the process.

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