p14ARF silencing by promoter hypermethylation mediates abnormal intracellular localization of MDM2

Manel Esteller, Carlos Cordon-Cardo, Paul G. Corn, Steve J. Meltzer, Kamal S. Pohar, D. Neil Watkins, Gabriel Capella, Miguel Angel Peinado, Xavier Matias-Guiu, Jaime Prat, Stephen B. Baylin, James G. Herman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

132 Scopus citations


The INK4a/ARF locus encodes two distinct tumor suppressors, p16INK4a and p14ARF. Although the contribution of p16INK4a to human tumorigenesis through point mutation, deletion, and hypermethylation has been widely documented, little is known about specific p14ARF lesions and their consequences. Recent data indicate that p14ARF suffers inactivation by promoter hypermethylation in colorectal cancer cells. Because it is known that p14ARF prevents MDM2 nucleocytoplasmic shuttling and thus stabilizes p53 by attenuating MDM2-mediated degradation, we studied the relationship of p14ARF epigenetic silencing to the expression and localization of MDM2 and p53. Cancer cell lines with an unmethylated p14ARF promoter showed strong nuclear expression of MDM2, whereas in a colorectal cell line with p14ARF hypermethylation-associated inactivation, MDM2 protein was also seen in the cytosol. Treatment with the demethylating agent 5-aza-2′-deoxycytidine was able to reinternalize MDM2 to the nucleus, and p53 expression was restored. No apparent changes in retinoblastoma localization were observed. We also studied the profile of p14ARF promoter hypermethylation in an extensive collection of 559 human primary tumors of different cell types, observing that in colorectal, gastric, renal, esophageal, and endometrial neoplasms and gliomas, aberrant methylation of p14ARF was a relatively common epigenetic event, MDM2 expression patterns revealed that lack of p14ARF promoter hypermethylation was associated with tumors showing exclusive nuclear MDM2 staining, whereas MDM2 cytosolic staining was frequently observed in neoplasms with aberrant p14ARF methylation. Taken together, these data support that epigenetic silencing of p14ARF by promoter hypermethylation is a key mechanism in the disturbance of the MDM2 nuclear localization in human cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2816-2821
Number of pages6
JournalCancer Research
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2001
Externally publishedYes


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