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Cell Death Differ. 2011 Aug;18(8):1366-75. doi: 10.1038/cdd.2011.12. Epub 2011 Feb 25.

Roles of HAUSP-mediated p53 regulation in central nervous system development.

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Institute for Cancer Genetics, Columbia University, New York, NY 10032, USA.


The deubiquitinase HAUSP (herpesvirus-associated ubiquitin-specific protease; also called USP7) has a critical role in regulating the p53-Mdm2 (murine double minute 2) pathway. By using the conventional knockout approach, we previously showed that hausp inactivation leads to early embryonic lethality. To fully understand the physiological functions of hausp, we have generated mice lacking hausp specifically in the brain and examined the impacts of this manipulation on brain development. We found that deletion of hausp in neural cells resulted in neonatal lethality. The brains from these mice displayed hypoplasia and deficiencies in development, which were mainly caused by p53-mediated apoptosis. Detailed analysis also showed an increase of both p53 levels and p53-dependent transcriptional activation in hausp knockout brains. Notably, neural cell survival and brain development of hausp-mutant mice can largely be restored in the p53-null background. Nevertheless, in contrast to the case of mdm2- and mdm4 (murine double minute 4)-mutant mice, inactivation of p53 failed to completely rescue the neonatal lethality of these hausp-mutant mice. These results indicate that HAUSP-mediated p53 regulation is crucial for brain development, and also suggest that both the p53-dependent and the p53-independent functions of HAUSP contribute to the neonatal lethality of hausp-mutant mice.

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