Increased acetylation of lysine 317/320 of p53 caused by BCR-ABL protects from cytoplasmic translocation of p53 and mitochondria-dependent apoptosis in response to DNA damage
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Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) is a disorder of hematopoietic stem cells caused by the expression of BCR-ABL. Loss of p53 has not been implicated as important for the development of CML. Mutations in p53 protein are infrequent, however they correlate with the disease progression. The absence of p53 mutations does not exclude the possibility that other dysfunctions play an important role in CML pathology. Acetylation represents a very potent posttranslational mechanism regulating p53 stability, transcriptional activity and localization. In this study we have investigated whether the expression of BCR-ABL could influence the acetylation of p53, specifically at lysine 317/320 (K317/K320), which has been shown to regulate nuclear export and transcription-independent apoptotic activity of p53. We found that BCR-ABL expression increases K317 acetylation of p53 and is able to prevent a drop in acetylation observed upon DNA damage, followed by translocation of p53 to the cytoplasm and by Bax activation. We have shown that this site plays a crucial role in the regulation of p53 localization and p53-dependent, Bax-mediated apoptosis. Our study presents a novel BCR-ABL-dependent mechanism protecting from DNA-damage-induced cell death. It can, in addition to already known mechanisms, explain the resistance to p53-dependent apoptosis observed in CML cells expressing wt p53. We propose that the acetyltransferases regulating the p53 acetylation could be an interesting and potent target for therapeutic intervention.
KeywordsBCR-ABL p53 Acetylation Apoptosis DNA damage PCAF
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