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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

MDM2 binding induces a conformational change in p53 that is opposed by heat-shock protein 90 and precedes p53 proteasomal degradation.

p53 protein conformation is an important determinant of its localization and activity. Changes in p53 conformation can be monitored by reactivity with wild-type conformation-specific (pAb-1620) or mutant conformation-specific (pAb-240) p53 antibodies. Wild-type p53 accumulated in a mutant (pAb-240 reactive) form when its proteasome-dependent degradation was blocked during recovery from stress treatment and in cells co-expressing p53 and MDM2. This suggests that conformational change precedes wild-type p53 degradation by the proteasome. MDM2 binding to the p53 N terminus could induce a conformational change in wild-type p53. Interestingly, this conformational change was opposed by heat-shock protein 90 and did not require the MDM2 RING-finger domain and p53 ubiquitination. Finally, ubiquitinated p53 accumulated in a pAb-240 reactive form when p53 degradation was blocked by proteasome inhibition, and a p53-ubiquitin fusion protein displayed a mutant-only conformation in MDM2-null cells. These results support a model in which MDM2 binding induces a conformational change that is opposed by heat-shock protein 90 and precedes p53 ubiquitination. The covalent attachment of ubiquitin may "lock" p53 in a mutant conformation in the absence of MDM2-binding and prior to its degradation by the proteasome.[1]


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