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Mol Cell Biol. 1986 Dec;6(12):4650-6.

Molecular basis for heterogeneity of the human p53 protein.


The human p53 tumor antigen comprises several physically distinct proteins. Two p53 proteins, separable by polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, are expressed by the human transformed cell line SV-80. The individual cDNAs which code for these proteins were isolated and constructed into the SP6 transcription vector. The proteins encoded by these clones were identified by in vitro transcription with the SP6 vector and translation in a cell-free system. p53-H-1 and p53-H-19 cDNA clones code for the faster- and slower-migrating p53 protein species, respectively, of SV-80. The in vitro-expressed proteins of p53-H-1 and p53-H-19 had the same antigenic determinants and were structurally indistinguishable from their in vivo counterparts. By expressing defined restricted cDNA fragments in vitro, the region of heterogeneity between the respective cDNAs was located at the 5' end of the cDNAs. Exchanging the 5' fragments of interest and expressing the chimeric clones in vitro confirmed that the DNA heterogeneity was responsible for the difference in the electrophoretic mobility of these proteins. The sequences of the two cDNAs revealed a single base pair difference (G versus C) in the coding region of the clones. This sequence difference resulted in an arginine being coded for in clone p53-H-1 and a proline being coded for at the equivalent position in clone p53-H-19. This variation accounted for the change in the electrophoretic mobility of the individual p53 protein species.

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