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Mol Cell Biol. 1996 Sep;16(9):4961-71.

A mutant p53 that discriminates between p53-responsive genes cannot induce apoptosis.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Columbia University, New York 10027, USA.


Human wild-type (wt) p53 can induce apoptosis in transiently transfected H1299 cells maintained at 37 degrees C, whereas tumor-derived mutant forms of p53 (with the mutation Ala-143, His-175, or Trp-248) fail to do so. At 37 degrees C, p53 with a mutation to Ala at amino acid 143 (p53Ala143) was transcriptionally inactive. However, at 32 degrees C, p53Ala143 strongly activated transcription from several physiologically relevant p53-responsive promoters, to extents similar or greater than that of wt p53. Unexpectedly, p53Ala143 was defective in inducing apoptosis in H1299 cells at 32 degrees C. Concomitantly with the loss of apoptotic activity, p53Ala143 was found to be deficient in its ability to activate transcription from the p53-responsive portions of the Bax and insulin-like growth factor-binding protein 3 gene promoters. It is proposed that there may exist distinct classes of p53-responsive promoters, whose ability to be activated by p53 can be regulated differentially. Such differential regulation may have functional consequences for the effects of p53 on cell fate.

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