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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Jan 2;110(1):312-7. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1201514110. Epub 2012 Dec 17.

N terminus of ASPP2 binds to Ras and enhances Ras/Raf/MEK/ERK activation to promote oncogene-induced senescence.

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Division of Hematology and Medical Oncology, Department of Medicine and the Knight Cancer Institute, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, OR 97239, USA.


The ASPP2 (also known as 53BP2L) tumor suppressor is a proapoptotic member of a family of p53 binding proteins that functions in part by enhancing p53-dependent apoptosis via its C-terminal p53-binding domain. Mounting evidence also suggests that ASPP2 harbors important nonapoptotic p53-independent functions. Structural studies identify a small G protein Ras-association domain in the ASPP2 N terminus. Because Ras-induced senescence is a barrier to tumor formation in normal cells, we investigated whether ASPP2 could bind Ras and stimulate the protein kinase Raf/MEK/ERK signaling cascade. We now show that ASPP2 binds to Ras-GTP at the plasma membrane and stimulates Ras-induced signaling and pERK1/2 levels via promoting Ras-GTP loading, B-Raf/C-Raf dimerization, and C-Raf phosphorylation. These functions require the ASPP2 N terminus because BBP (also known as 53BP2S), an alternatively spliced ASPP2 isoform lacking the N terminus, was defective in binding Ras-GTP and stimulating Raf/MEK/ERK signaling. Decreased ASPP2 levels attenuated H-RasV12-induced senescence in normal human fibroblasts and neonatal human epidermal keratinocytes. Together, our results reveal a mechanism for ASPP2 tumor suppressor function via direct interaction with Ras-GTP to stimulate Ras-induced senescence in nontransformed human cells.

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