Frontiers of Physics

, 12:128908 | Cite as

Structural effects and competition mechanisms targeting the interactions between p53 and MDM2 for cancer therapy

Research article
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Soft-Matter Physics and Complex Systems


Approximately half of all human cancers show normal TP53 gene expression but aberrant overexpression of MDM2 and/or MDMX. This fact suggests a promising cancer therapeutic strategy in targeting the interactions between p53 and MDM2/MDMX. To help realize the goal of developing effective inhibitors to disrupt the p53–MDM2/MDMX interaction, we systematically investigated the structural and interaction characteristics of p53 with inhibitors of its interactions with MDM2 and MDMX from an atomistic perspective using stochastic molecular dynamics simulations. We found that some specific α helices in the structures of MDM2 and MDMX play key roles in their binding to inhibitors, and that the hydrogen bond formed by the Trp23 residue of p53 with its counterpart in MDM2 or MDMX determines the dynamic competition processes of the disruption of the MDM2–p53 interaction and replacement of p53 from the MDM2–p53 complex in vivo. The results reported in this paper are expected to provide basic information for designing functional inhibitors and realizing new strategies of cancer gene therapy.


p53 MDMX MDM2 molecular dynamics simulation inhibitors cancer therapy 



This work was supported by the National Nature Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 11675018, 10975019, 11605038, and 11545014), Beijing Natural Science Foundation (Grant No. 1172008), and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (Grant No. 2015KJJCB01).


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Copyright information

© Higher Education Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Nuclear Science and TechnologyBeijing Normal UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.School of ScienceHebei University of TechnologyTianjinChina
  3. 3.Beijing Radiation CenterBeijingChina

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