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

Adenovirus type 12-induced fragility of the human RNU2 locus requires p53 function.

Adenovirus type 12 (Ad12) infection of human cells induces four chromosomal fragile sites corresponding to the U1 small nuclear RNA (snRNA) genes (the RNU1 locus), the U2 snRNA genes (RNU2), the U1 snRNA pseudogenes (PSU1), and the 5S rRNA genes (RN5S). Ad12-induced fragility of the RNU2 locus requires U2 snRNA transcriptional regulatory elements and viral early functions but not viral replication or integration, or chromosomal sequences flanking the RNU2 locus. We now show that Ad12 cannot induce the RNU1, RNU2, or PSU1 fragile sites in Saos-2 cells lacking the p53 and retinoblastoma (Rb) proteins but that viral induction of fragility is rescued in these cells when the expression of wild-type p53 or selected hot-spot mutants (i.e., V143A, R175H, R248W, and R273H) is restored by transient expression or stable retroviral transduction. We also observed weak constitutive fragility of the RNU1 and RNU2 loci in cells belonging to xeroderma pigmentosum complementation groups B and D (XPB and XPD) which are partially defective in the ERCC2 (XPD) and ERCC3 (XPB) helicase activities shared between the repairosome and the RNA polymerase H basal transcription factor TFIIH. We propose a model for Ad12-induced chromosome fragility in which interaction of p53 with the Ad12 E1B 55-kDa transforming protein (and possibly E4orf6) induces a p53 gain of function which ultimately perturbs the RNA polymerase II basal transcription apparatus. The p53 gain of function could interfere with chromatin condensation either by blocking mitotic shutdown of U1 and U2 snRNA transcription or by phenocopying global or local DNA damage. Specific fragilization of the RNU1, RNU2, and PSU1 loci could reflect the unusually high local concentration of strong transcription units or the specialized nature of the U1 and U2 snRNA transcription apparatus.[1]


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