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EMBO J. 1998 Apr 1;17(7):1847-59.

Genetic selection of intragenic suppressor mutations that reverse the effect of common p53 cancer mutations.

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Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.


Several lines of evidence suggest that the presence of the wild-type tumor suppressor gene p53 in human cancers correlates well with successful anti-cancer therapy. Restoration of wild-type p53 function to cancer cells that have lost it might therefore improve treatment outcomes. Using a systematic yeast genetic approach, we selected second-site suppressor mutations that can overcome the deleterious effects of common p53 cancer mutations in human cells. We identified several suppressor mutations for the V143A, G245S and R249S cancer mutations. The beneficial effects of these suppressor mutations were demonstrated using mammalian reporter gene and apoptosis assays. Further experiments showed that these suppressor mutations could override additional p53 cancer mutations. The mechanisms of such suppressor mutations can be elucidated by structural studies, ultimately leading to a framework for the discovery of small molecules able to stabilize p53 mutants.

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