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Mol Cell. 2008 Feb 15;29(3):392-400. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2007.12.025.

Methylation of p53 by Set7/9 mediates p53 acetylation and activity in vivo.

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Epigenetics, Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research, 250 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.


The protein methyltransferase Set7/9 was recently shown to regulate p53 activity in cancer cells. However, the impact of Set7/9 on p53 function in vivo is unclear. To explore these issues, we created a null allele of Set7/9 in mice. Cells from Set7/9 mutant mice fail to methylate p53 K369, are unable to induce p53 downstream targets upon DNA damage, and are predisposed to oncogenic transformation. Importantly, we find that methylation of p53 by Set7/9 is required for the binding of the acetyltransferase Tip60 to p53 and for the subsequent acetylation of p53. We provide the first genetic evidence demonstrating that lysine methylation of p53 by Set7/9 is important for p53 activation in vivo and suggest a mechanistic link between methylation and acetylation of p53 through Tip60.

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