Tp53-dependent repression of cell cycle target genes: Global and mechanistic analysis

Kevin Bradford Spurgers, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


Most studies of p53 function have focused on genes transactivated by p53. It is less widely appreciated that p53 can repress target genes to affect a particular cellular response. There is evidence that repression is important for p53-induced apoptosis and cell cycle arrest. It is less clear if repression is important for other p53 functions. A comprehensive knowledge of the genes repressed by p53 and the cellular processes they affect is currently lacking. We used an expression profiling strategy to identify p53-responsive genes following adenoviral p53 gene transfer (Ad-p53) in PC3 prostate cancer cells. A total of 111 genes represented on the Affymetrix U133A microarray were repressed more than two fold (p ≤ 0.05) by p53. An objective assessment of array data quality was carried out using RT-PCR of 20 randomly selected genes. We estimate a confirmation rate of >95.5% for the complete data set. Functional over-representation analysis was used to identify cellular processes potentially affected by p53-mediated repression. Cell cycle regulatory genes exhibited significant enrichment (p ≤ 5E-28) within the repressed targets. Several of these genes are repressed in a p53-dependent manner following DNA damage, but preceding cell cycle arrest. These findings identify novel p53-repressed targets and indicate that p53-induced cell cycle arrest is a function of not only the transactivation of cell cycle inhibitors (e.g., p21), but also the repression of targets that act at each phase of the cell cycle. The mechanism of repression of this set of p53 targets was investigated. Most of the repressed genes identified here do not harbor consensus p53 DNA binding sites but do contain binding sites for E2F transcription factors. We demonstrate a role for E2F/RB repressor complexes in our system. Importantly, p53 is found at the promoter of CDC25A. CDC25A protein is rapidly degraded in response to DNA damage. Our group has demonstrated for the first time that CDC25A is also repressed at the transcript level by p53. This work has important implications for understanding the DNA damage cell cycle checkpoint response and the link between E2F/RB complexes and p53 in the repression of target genes.

Subject Area

Molecular biology

Recommended Citation

Spurgers, Kevin Bradford, "Tp53-dependent repression of cell cycle target genes: Global and mechanistic analysis" (2006). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3249205.