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Cell Death Differ. 2011 Feb;18(2):271-81. doi: 10.1038/cdd.2010.94. Epub 2010 Aug 6.

Mutant p53(R175H) upregulates Twist1 expression and promotes epithelial-mesenchymal transition in immortalized prostate cells.

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Department of Molecular Cell Biology, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel.


A mutation within one allele of the p53 tumor suppressor gene can inactivate the remaining wild-type allele in a dominant-negative manner and in some cases can exert an additional oncogenic activity, known as mutant p53 'gain of function' (GOF). To study the role of p53 mutations in prostate cancer and to discriminate between the dominant-negative effect and the GOF activity of mutant p53, we measured, using microarrays, the expression profiles of three immortalized prostate epithelial cultures expressing wild-type, inactivated p53 or mutated p53. Analysis of these gene expression profiles showed that both inactivated p53 and p53(R175H) mutant expression resulted in the upregulation of cell cycle progression genes. A second group, which was upregulated exclusively by mutant p53(R175H), was predominantly enriched in developmental genes. This group of genes included the Twist1, a regulator of metastasis and epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). Twist1 levels were also elevated in metastatic prostate cancer-derived cell line DU145, in immortalized lung fibroblasts and in a subset of lung cancer samples, all in a mutant p53-dependent manner. p53(R175H) mutant bearing immortalized epithelial cells showed typical features of EMT, such as higher expression of mesenchymal markers, lower expression of epithelial markers and enhanced invasive properties in vitro. The mechanism by which p53(R175H) mutant induces Twist1 expression involves alleviation of the epigenetic repression. Our data suggest that Twist1 expression might be upregulated following p53 mutation in cancer cells.

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