On the mechanism of sequence-specific DNA-dependent acetylation of p53: the acetylation motif is exposed upon DNA binding

Pavla Cesková, Havovi Chichger, Maura Wallace, Borek Vojtesek, Ted R Hupp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

P53 acetylation requires p300-docking to two contiguous sites in the activation domain that in turn mediates DNA-dependent acetylation of the tetramer. In an attempt to further define the mechanism of DNA-dependent acetylation of p53, an in vitro system has been reconstituted with distinct p53 isoforms and has been used to reveal conformational constraints on p53 acetylation. Two native p53 tetrameric isoforms purified from Sf9 cells differing by the extent of phosphorylation within the C-terminal acetylation site are both acetylated in a sequence-specific DNA-dependent manner. By contrast, p53 purified from an Escherichia coli expression system is in a largely denatured conformation and its acetylation is DNA-independent. Heating native p53 to destroy the folded structure restores DNA-independent acetylation similar to that seen with bacterially expressed p53. There are at least two sites of conformational flexibility in the p53 tetramer: the first in the flexible S10 beta-sheet within the MDM2 ubiquitination sequence and the second in the C-terminal regulatory domain. We analysed therefore whether DNA-dependent acetylation correlated with conformational changes in either of these two regions. DNA-dependent acetylation of p53 is maintained in a dose-dependent manner by low concentrations of consensus site DNA under conditions where flexibility in the S10 beta-sheet region is maintained. Oligonucleotide DNAs that promote acetylation stimulate the binding of monoclonal antibodies PAb421 and ICA-9; two antibodies whose contiguous epitopes overlap the C-terminal acetylation motif. By contrast, bent oligonucleotide DNAs that conceal both the S10 beta-sheet from binding of the monoclonal antibody DO-12 and attenuate binding of the monoclonal antibody PAb421 can preclude acetylation. These data suggest that, in the absence of DNA, the acetylation motif of p53 is in a cryptic state, but after DNA binding, allosteric effects mediate an exposure of the acetylation motif to allow DNA-dependent acetylation of the tetramer.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)442-56
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Molecular Biology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 24 Mar 2006

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Acetylation
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Base Sequence
  • Biological Assay
  • DNA
  • Epitopes
  • Humans
  • Models, Molecular
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Conformation
  • Protein Denaturation
  • Protein Isoforms
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53


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