The Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 Requires a Cofactor to Activate Transcriptionally the Human BAX Promoter

Edward C. Thornborrow, James J. Manfredi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations

Abstract

An important regulator of the proapoptotic BAX is the tumor suppressor protein p53. Unlike the p21 gene, in which p53-dependent transcriptional activation is mediated by a response element containing two consensus p53 half-sites, it previously was reported that activation of the BAX element by p53 requires additional sequences. Here, it is demonstrated that the minimal BAX response element capable of mediating p53-dependent transcriptional activation consists of two p53 half-sites plus an adjacent 6 base pairs (5′-GGGCGT-3′). This GC-rich region constitutes a "GC box" capable both of binding members of the Sp family of transcription factors, including Sp1 in vitro, and of conferring Sp1-dependent transcriptional activation on a minimal promoter in cells. Mutations within this GC box abrogated the ability of p53 to activate transcription without affecting the affinity of p53 for its binding site, demonstrating that these 6 bases are required for p53-dependent activation. In addition, a positive correlation was observed between the ability of p53 to activate transcription in cells and the ability of Sp1 to bind this response element in vitro. Mutations that inhibited Sp1 binding also blocked the ability of p53 to activate transcription through this element. Together, these results suggest a model in which p53 requires the cooperation of Sp1 or a Sp1-like factor to mediate transcriptional activation of the human BAX promoter.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15598-15608
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Volume276
Issue number19
DOIs
StatePublished - 11 May 2001

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