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Journal of Zhejiang University SCIENCE B 2009 Vol.10 No.5 P.404-410


Cellular adaptation to hypoxia and p53 transcription regulation

Author(s):  Yang ZHAO, Xue-qun CHEN, Ji-zeng DU

Affiliation(s):  Lab of Neurobiology and Physiology, Department of Physiology, School of Medicine, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310058, China

Corresponding email(s):   dujz@zju.edu.cn

Key Words:  p53, Transcription factor, Hypoxia, Adaptation

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Yang ZHAO, Xue-qun CHEN, Ji-zeng DU. Cellular adaptation to hypoxia and p53 transcription regulation[J]. Journal of Zhejiang University Science B, 2009, 10(5): 404-410.

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A1 - Yang ZHAO
A1 - Xue-qun CHEN
A1 - Ji-zeng DU
J0 - Journal of Zhejiang University Science B
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PB - Zhejiang University Press & Springer
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DOI - 10.1631/jzus.B0820293

Tumor suppressor p53 is the most frequently mutated gene in human tumors. Meanwhile, under stress conditions, p53 also acts as a transcription factor, regulating the expression of a series of target genes to maintain the integrity of genome. The target genes of p53 can be classified into genes regulating cell cycle arrest, genes involved in apoptosis, and genes inhibiting angiogenesis. p53 protein contains a transactivation domain, a sequence-specific DNA binding domain, a tetramerization domain, a non-specific DNA binding domain that recognizes damaged DNA, and a later identified proline-rich domain. Under stress, p53 proteins accumulate and are activated through two mechanisms. One, involving ataxia telangiectasia-mutated protein (ATM), is that the interaction between p53 and its down-regulation factor murine double minute 2 (MDM2) decreases, leading to p53 phosphorylation on Ser15, as determined by the post-translational mechanism; the other holds that p53 increases and is activated through the binding of ribosomal protein L26 (RPL26) or nucleolin to p53 mRNA 5( untranslated region (UTR), regulating p53 translation. Under hypoxia, p53 decreases transactivation and increases transrepression. The mutations outside the DNA binding domain of p53 also contribute to tumor progress, so further studies on p53 should also be focused on this direction. The subterranean blind mole rat Spalax in Israel is a good model for hypoxia-adaptation. The p53 of Spalax mutated in residue 172 and residue 207 from arginine to lysine, conferring it the ability to survive hypoxic conditions. This model indicates that p53 acts as a master gene of diversity formation during evolution.

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