p53 accumulation due to down-regulation of ubiquitin: relevance for neuronal apoptosis.

The p53 tumor suppressor protein is a major regulator of cell growth arrest and apoptosis in response to DNA damage. Both p53 function and stability are tightly controlled by Mdm2, which binds to the p53 N-terminus and targets p53 for ubiquitin-mediated proteolysis. Previous studies suggest that adrenalectomy-induced neuronal apoptosis is ...
p53-dependent. Here we demonstrate both nuclear accumulation and functional activation of p53 protein in apoptotic hippocampal neurons from adrenalectomized rats. Increased p53 expression occurred despite the accumulation of its negative regulator, Mdm2, and the formation of p53-Mdm2 complexes. The persistence of p53 expression was explained by a striking decrease in free ubiquitin in p53-positive neurons. The addition of exogenous ubiquitin to p53-Mdm2 complexes from apoptotic neurons restored p53 degradation. These findings demonstrate a novel mechanism of p53 stabilization mediated by decreased ubiquitin levels. Regulation of free ubiquitin may therefore be an effective way to modulate p53-dependent apoptosis in certain cell types.
Mesh Terms:
Adrenalectomy, Animals, Apoptosis, DNA Damage, Dentate Gyrus, Down-Regulation, Immunohistochemistry, In Situ Nick-End Labeling, Male, Neoplasm Proteins, Neurons, Nuclear Proteins, Proto-Oncogene Proteins, Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-mdm2, Rats, Rats, Inbred F344, Tumor Suppressor Protein p53, Ubiquitins
Cell Death Differ.
Date: Jul. 01, 2000
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