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Int J Cancer. 1998 Oct 29;78(3):372-6.

Characterization of p53 mutants identified in human tumors with a missense mutation in the tetramerization domain.

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Oncology Department, Novartis, Basle, Switzerland.


p53 is very often mutated in human cancers. The majority of alterations are missense mutations located within the DNA-binding domain of the protein. Many reports have characterized such mutant proteins. Little is known, however, about the properties of proteins that have a missense mutation outside this domain. We investigated here the properties of 8 mutant proteins identified in human tumors as having a missense mutation in the tetramerization domain. The Arg342Gln, Glu349Asp and Gln354Arg proteins behaved like wild-type both in vitro and in cells. Two mutants, Arg342Pro and Leu344Pro, were inactive in all assays. Finally, the 3 mutant proteins Leu330His, Arg337Cys and Arg337Leu, which are inactive in vitro, showed no activity at low expression levels in cells but became active at higher expression levels. Our results reveal new phenotypes for p53 mutants and suggest that sequencing of the p53 gene from patients with tumors should be extended to exons 9 and 10 in clinical investigations.

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