Expression of human p53 requires synergistic activation of transcription from the p53 promoter by AP-1, NF-kappaB and Myc/Max.

Research paper by H C HC Kirch, S S Flaswinkel, H H Rumpf, D D Brockmann, H H Esche

Indexed on: 29 May '99Published on: 29 May '99Published in: Oncogene


Transcriptional control of p53 expression participates in the generation of appropriate levels of active p53 in response to mitogenic stimulation. This prompted us to study the role of a putative AP-1 and a NF-kappaB motif in the human p53 promoter for transcriptional regulation. We show that mutation of the AP-1 or the NF-kappaB motif abolishes transcription from the human p53 promoter in HeLa, HepG2 and adenovirus type 5 E1-transformed 293 cells. In comparison, mutation of the previously characterized Myc/Max/USF binding site in the human p53 promoter reduces the transcription rate fivefold. The AP-1 motif in the human p53 promoter binds c-Fos and c-Jun and the NF-kappaB motif binds p50(NF-kappaB) and p65RelA. The cooperative nature of transcriptional activation by these factors was documented by repression of c-fos or NF-kappaB1 translation: Pretreatment of the cells with a c-fos or p50(NF-kappaB1) antisense oligonucleotide suppresses transcription from the human p53 promoter completely. In addition, we show that (a) the level of endogenous p53 mRNA and (b) transcription from the strictly p53-dependent human mdm2 promoter are reduced in the presence of c-fos, c-jun, p50(NF-kappaB1), p65RelA or c-myc antisense oligonucleotides, underscoring the importance of these transcription factors for the expression of functional p53.