Gain-of-function of the p53R172H mutation in a mouse model of Li -Fraumeni syndrome

Gene Anthony Lang, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


Missense mutations in the p53 tumor-suppressor gene are the most common alterations of p53 in somatic tumors and in patients with Li-Fraumeni syndrome. p53 missense mutations occur in the DNA binding region and disrupt the ability of p53 to activate transcription. In vitro studies have shown that some p53 missense mutants have a gain-of-function or dominant-negative activity. The p53 175 Arg-to-His (p53 R175H) mutation in humans has been shown to have dominant-negative and gain-of-function properties in vitro. This mutation is observed in the germline of individuals with Li-Fraumeni syndrome. To accurately model Li-Fraumeni syndrome and to examine the mechanistic nature of a gain-of-function missense mutation on in vivo tumorigenesis, we generated and characterized a mouse with the corresponding mutation, p53 R172H. p53R172H homozygous and heterozygous mice developed similar tumor spectra and survival curves as p53 −/− and p53+/− mice, respectively. However, tumors in p53+/R172H mice metastasized to various organs with high frequency, suggesting a gain-of-function phenotype by p53R172H in vivo. Mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) from p53R172H mice also showed gain-of-function phenotypes in cell proliferation, DNA synthesis, and transformation potential, while cells from p53+/− and p53−/− mice did not. To mechanistically characterize the gain-of-function phenotype of the p53R172H mutant, the role of p53 family members, p63 and p73, was analyzed. Disruption of p63 and p73 by siRNAs in p53 −/− MEFs increased transformation potential and reinitiated DNA synthesis to levels observed in p53R172H/R172H cells. Additionally, p63 and p73 were bound and functionally inactivated by p53R172H in metastatic p53 R172H tumor-derived cell lines, indicating a role for the p53 family members in the gain-of-function phenotype. This study provides in vivo evidence for the gain-of-function effect of p53 missense mutations and more accurately models the Li-Fraumeni syndrome.

Subject Area

Genetics|Cellular biology|Molecular biology

Recommended Citation

Lang, Gene Anthony, "Gain-of-function of the p53R172H mutation in a mouse model of Li -Fraumeni syndrome" (2004). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3138879.