Transcriptional activation by wild-type but not transforming mutants of the p53 anti-oncogene

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Science  31 Aug 1990:
Vol. 249, Issue 4972, pp. 1049-1051
DOI: 10.1126/science.2144364


The protein encoded by the wild-type p53 proto-oncogene has been shown to suppress transformation, whereas certain mutations that alter p53 become transformation competent. Fusion proteins between p53 and the GAL4 DNA binding domain were made to anchor p53 to a DNA target sequence and to allow measurement of transcriptional activation of a reporter plasmid. The wild-type p53 stimulated transcription in this assay, but two transforming mutations in p53 were unable to act as transcriptional activators. Therefore, p53 can activate transcription, and transformation-activating mutations result in a loss of function of the p53 protein. The inability of the p53 mutant proteins to activate transcription may enable them to be transformation competent.

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