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Nat Cell Biol. 2013 Aug;15(8):991-1000. doi: 10.1038/ncb2789. Epub 2013 Jun 30.

TAp73 enhances the pentose phosphate pathway and supports cell proliferation.

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Hefei National Laboratory for Physical Sciences at Microscale and School of Life Sciences, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, Anhui, 230027, China.


TAp73 is a structural homologue of the pre-eminent tumour suppressor p53. However, unlike p53, TAp73 is rarely mutated, and instead is frequently overexpressed in human tumours. It remains unclear whether TAp73 affords an advantage to tumour cells and if so, what the underlying mechanism is. Here we show that TAp73 supports the proliferation of human and mouse tumour cells. TAp73 activates the expression of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD), the rate-limiting enzyme of the pentose phosphate pathway (PPP). By stimulating G6PD, TAp73 increases PPP flux and directs glucose to the production of NADPH and ribose, for the synthesis of macromolecules and detoxification of reactive oxygen species (ROS). The growth defect of TAp73-deficient cells can be rescued by either enforced G6PD expression or the presence of nucleosides plus an ROS scavenger. These findings establish a critical role for TAp73 in regulating metabolism, and connect TAp73 and the PPP to oncogenic cell growth.

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