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Oncogene. 2011 Feb 17;30(7):865-75. doi: 10.1038/onc.2010.461. Epub 2010 Oct 11.

Infection with E1B-mutant adenovirus stabilizes p53 but blocks p53 acetylation and activity through E1A.

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Department of Molecular Oncology, Göttingen Center of Molecular Biosciences, Ernst Caspari Haus, University of Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany.


Wild-type adenovirus type 5 eliminates p53 through the E1B-55kDa and E4-34kDa gene products. Deletion or mutation of E1B-55kDa has long been thought to confer p53-selective replication of oncolytic viruses. We show here that infection with E1B-defective adenovirus mutants induces massive accumulation of p53, without obvious defects in p53 localization, phosphorylation, conformation and oligomerization. Nonetheless, p53 completely failed to induce its target genes in this scenario, for example, p21/CDKN1A, Mdm2 and PUMA. Two regions of the E1A gene products independently contributed to the suppression of p21 transcription. Depending on the E1A conserved region 3, E1B-defective adenovirus impaired the ability of the transcription factor Sp1 to bind the p21 promoter. Moreover, the amino terminal region of E1A, binding the acetyl transferases p300 and CREB-binding protein, blocked p53 K382 acetylation in infected cells. Mutating either of these E1A regions, in addition to E1B, partially restored p21 mRNA levels. Our findings argue that adenovirus attenuates p53-mediated p21 induction, through at least two E1B-independent mechanisms. Other virus species and cancer cells may employ analogous strategies to impair p53 activity.

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