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Oncogene. 1995 Jul 6;11(1):73-80.

Cdk2 kinase phosphorylates serine 315 of human p53 in vitro.

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Joint Center for Radiation Therapy, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


DNA damage increases p53 protein levels and activates transcription of the p21 gene. The p21 protein binds to and inhibits cdk2 kinase, causing G1 arrest. Here, we have investigated if a p53 fusion protein is a substrate for cdk2 kinase in vitro. Cdk2 kinase was immunoprecipitated from NIH3T3 cells and allowed to phosphorylate a human p53-GST (glutathione-s-transferase) fusion protein. Cdk2 and cyclin E-cdk2 efficiently phosphorylated both wild-type (wt) and mutant p53-GST. Cdk2 immunoprecipitated from cells in Go and early G1 exhibited minimal p53 kinase activity, whereas cells in S-phase displayed high levels of p53 kinase activity. If NIH3T3 cells were X-ray irradiated to induce DNA damage, cdk2 p53 kinase activity was rapidly inhibited within 1 h, but had recovered by 4 h post irradiation. Mutation of serine 315 of p53 to alanine (p53-S315A) abolished phosphorylation by cdk2 kinase. However, wtp53 and p53-S315A were equally effective at activating transcription when cotransfected with a p53 reporter construct. The results demonstrate that ser 315 of p53 is phosphorylated by cdk2 in vitro. However, ser 315 of wtp53 is not required for transcriptional activity in vivo, suggesting that cdk2 phosphorylation of p53 may be involved in regulating other cellular functions of wtp53.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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