Intrinsically Disordered N-terminal Domain (NTD) of p53 Interacts with Mitochondrial PTP Regulator Cyclophilin D

Jing Zhao, Xinyue Liu, Alan Blayney, Yumeng Zhang, Lauren Gandy, Paige Olivia Mirsky, Nathan Smith, Fuming Zhang, Robert J. Linhardt, Jianhan Chen, Christopher Baines, Stewart N. Loh, Chunyu Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Mitochondrial permeability transition pore (mPTP) plays crucial roles in cell death in a variety of diseases, including ischemia/reperfusion injury in heart attack and stroke, neurodegenerative conditions, and cancer. To date, cyclophilin D is the only confirmed component of mPTP. Under stress, p53 can translocate into mitochondria and interact with CypD, triggering necrosis and cell growth arrest. However, the molecular details of p53/CypD interaction are still poorly understood. Previously, several studies reported that p53 interacts with CypD through its DNA-binding domain (DBD). However, using surface plasmon resonance (SPR), we found that both NTD-DBD, NTD and NTD (1–70) bind to CypD at ∼μM KD. In solution NMR, NTD binds CypD with μM affinity and mimics the pattern of FLp53 binding in chemical shift perturbation. In contrast, neither solution NMR nor fluorescence anisotropy detected DBD binding to CypD. Thus, instead of DBD, NTD is the major CypD binding site on p53. NMR titration and MD simulation revealed that NTD binds CypD with broad and dynamic interfaces dominated by electrostatic interactions. NTD 20–70 was further identified as the minimal binding region for CypD interaction, and two NTD fragments, D1 (residues 22–44) and D2 (58–70), can each bind CypD with mM affinity. Our detailed biophysical characterization of the dynamic interface between NTD and CypD provides novel insights on the p53-dependent mPTP opening and drug discovery targeting NTD/CypD interface in diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Article number167552
JournalJournal of Molecular Biology
Issue number9
StatePublished - 15 May 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • MD simulation
  • NMR
  • cyclophilin D
  • mitochondrial permeability transition pore
  • p53


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