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Genes Dev. 1992 Jul;6(7):1143-52.

Wild-type p53 mediates positive regulation of gene expression through a specific DNA sequence element.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Biology, Princeton University, New Jersey 08544.


It has been reported recently that the wild-type p53 gene product can positively regulate the expression of a test gene adjacent to the enhancer-promoter elements of the murine muscle-specific creatine kinase (MCK) gene. This discussion reports the identification of a wild-type p53 protein-specific DNA-binding element located within the p53-responsive region of the MCK enhancer-promoter element. This p53 protein/DNA-binding element has been defined by DNase I footprint analysis, which identified a 50-bp region. This 50-bp sequence was sufficient to confer wild-type p53 responsiveness on a heterologous minimal promoter. The mutant forms of p53 protein are much less capable of stimulating this DNA element. This study has identified the first example of a naturally occurring wild-type p53-specific DNA-binding element that is able to mediate positive regulation of a test gene. The results suggest a biological function in gene regulation for the wild-type p53 protein that is lost or altered in the mutant p53 proteins.

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