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EMBO J. 1993 Jun;12(6):2389-96.

p53-catalyzed annealing of complementary single-stranded nucleic acids.

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Fakultät für Biologie, Universität Konstanz, Germany.


p53 has been reported to inhibit the DNA helicase intrinsic to simian virus 40 large tumor antigen (T antigen). We found that inhibition is not restricted to T antigen, but also affects several other DNA and RNA helicases. Complexing of the helicases by the p53 protein as a possible inactivation mechanism could be excluded. Instead, the anti-helicase activity can be explained by our finding that p53 binds with high affinity to single-stranded nucleic acids and has a strong DNA.DNA and RNA.RNA annealing activity. We could also show that p53 is able to alter the secondary structure of RNA and/or to influence dynamic RNA-RNA interactions. These results, and the fact that the affinity of p53 to RNA is about one order of magnitude higher than to single-stranded DNA, imply an RNA-specific function of p53 in vivo.

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