Modulation of p53-mediated transcriptional repression and apoptosis by the adenovirus E1b 19K protein

P. Sabbatini, S. K. Chiou, L. Rao, E. White

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BRK cell lines that stably express adenovirus EIA and a murine temperature-sensitive p53 undergo apoptosis when p53 assumes the wild-type conformation. Expression of the E1B 19,000-molecular-weight (19K) protein rescues cells from this p53-mediated apoptosis and diverts cells to a growth- arrested state. As p53 likely functions as a tumor suppressor by regulating transcription, the ability of the E1B 19K protein to regulate p53-mediated transactivation and transcriptional repression was investigated. In promoter- reporter assays the E1B 19K did not block p53-mediated transactivation but did alleviate p53-mediated transcriptional repression. E1B 19K expression permitted efficient transcriptional activation of the p21/WAF-1/cip-1 mRNA by p53, consistent with maintenance of the growth arrest function of p53. The E1B 19K protein is thereby unique among DNA virus-transforming proteins that target p53 for inactivation in that it selectively modulates the transcriptional properties of p53. The E1B 19K protein also rescued cells from apoptosis induced by inhibitors of transcription and protein synthesis. This suggests that cell death may result from the inhibition of expression of survival factors which function to maintain cell viability. p53 may induce apoptosis through generalized transcriptional repression. In turn, the E1B 19K protein may prevent p53-mediated apoptosis by alleviating p53-mediated transcriptional repression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1060-1070
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular and cellular biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1995


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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