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Mol Cell. 2009 Nov 13;36(3):379-92. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2009.09.031.

GAMT, a p53-inducible modulator of apoptosis, is critical for the adaptive response to nutrient stress.

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  • 1Cutaneous Biology Research Center, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Charlestown, MA 02129, USA.


The p53 tumor suppressor protein has a well-established role in cell-fate decision-making processes. However, recent discoveries indicate that p53 has a non-tumor-suppressive role. Here we identify guanidinoacetate methyltransferase (GAMT), an enzyme involved in creatine synthesis, as a p53 target gene and a key downstream effector of adaptive response to nutrient stress. We show that GAMT is not only involved in p53-dependent apoptosis in response to genotoxic stress but is important for apoptosis induced by glucose deprivation. Additionally, p53-->GAMT upregulates fatty acid oxidation (FAO) induced by glucose starvation, utilizing this pathway as an alternate ATP-generating energy source. These results highlight that p53-dependent regulation of GAMT allows cells to maintain energy levels sufficient to undergo apoptosis or survival under conditions of nutrient stress. The p53-->GAMT pathway represents a new link between cellular stress responses and processes of creatine synthesis and FAO, demonstrating a further role of p53 in cellular metabolism.

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