Contribution of Two Independent MDM2-binding Domains in p14(ARF) to p53 Stabilization

Curr Biol. 2000 May 4;10(9):539-42. doi: 10.1016/s0960-9822(00)00472-3.


The MDM2 protein targets the p53 tumor suppressor for ubiquitin-dependent degradation [1], and can function both as an E3 ubiquitin ligase [2] and as a regulator of the subcellular localization of p53 [3]. Oncogene activation stabilizes p53 through expression of the ARF protein (p14(ARF) in humans, p19(ARF) in the mouse) [4], and loss of ARF allows tumor development without loss of wild-type p53 [5] [6]. ARF binds directly to MDM2, and prevents MDM2 from targeting p53 for degradation [6] [7] [8] [9] by inhibiting the E3 ligase activity of MDM2 [2] and preventing nuclear export of MDM2 and p53 [10] [11]. Interaction between ARF and MDM2 results in the localization of both proteins to the nucleolus [12] [13] [14] through nucleolar localization signals (NoLS) in ARF and MDM2 [11] [12] [13] [14]. Here, we report a new NoLS within the highly conserved amino-terminal 22 amino acids of p14(ARF), a region that we found could interact with MDM2, relocalize MDM2 to the nucleolus and inhibit the ability of MDM2 to degrade p53. In contrast, the carboxy-terminal fragment of p14(ARF), which contains the previously described NoLS [11], did not drive nucleolar localization of MDM2, although this region could bind MDM2 and weakly inhibit its ability to degrade p53. Our results support the importance of nucleolar sequestration for the efficient inactivation of MDM2. The inhibition of MDM2 by a small peptide from the amino terminus of p14(ARF) might be exploited to restore p53 function in tumors.

MeSH terms

  • Binding Sites
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Proteins / metabolism*
  • Nuclear Localization Signals*
  • Nuclear Proteins / metabolism*
  • Proteins / metabolism*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / metabolism*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-mdm2
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / metabolism
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p14ARF
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53*


  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Nuclear Localization Signals
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p14ARF
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53
  • MDM2 protein, human
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-mdm2