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The p53 tumour suppressor is stabilised following exposure to genotoxic agents, such as gamma-radiation. Cell responses to p53 stabilisation include induction of apoptosis and/or cell cycle arrest. Several studies have suggested that gamma-radiation stabilises p53 by blocking ubiquitin mediated proteolysis. Here we have compared the biological activities of p53 stabilized following exposure to gamma-radiation or treatment with the proteosome inhibitor N-acetyl-leucinyl-leucinyl-norleucinal (ALLN) in MCF7 cells with wild type p53. Stabilisation of p53 by ALLN was reversible and was not blocked by caffeine. Although ALLN was a more effective p53 stabilising agent than gamma-radiation, ALLN was not as effective at inducing cell cycle arrest/apoptosis as gamma-radiation. Although p53 stabilised by ALLN and gamma-radiation were both able to bind DNA and activate transcription, ALLN did not increase expression of BAX, which is involved in p53-induced apoptosis. Therefore, p53 stabilised by different agents is not always biologically active to the same extent and additional alterations triggered by gamma-radiation may enable p53 to activate a subset of critical target genes, such as BAX, which are required for p53 responses.

Type

Journal article

Journal

Apoptosis

Publication Date

04/1999

Volume

4

Pages

99 - 107