DNA microarray analysis of genes involved in p53 mediated apoptosis: activation of Apaf-1

Oncogene. 2001 Jun 7;20(26):3449-55. doi: 10.1038/sj.onc.1204446.


The transcription regulation activity of p53 controls cellular response to a variety of stress conditions, leading to growth arrest and apoptosis. Despite major progress in the understanding of the global effects of p53 on cellular function the pathways by which p53 activates apoptosis are not well defined. To study genes activated in the p53 induced apoptotic process, we used a mouse myeloid leukemic cell line (LTR6) expressing the temperature-sensitive p53 (val135) that undergoes apoptosis upon shifting the temperature to 32 degrees C. We analysed the gene expression profile at different time points after p53 activation using oligonucleotide microarray capable of detecting approximately 11,000 mRNA species. Cluster analysis of the p53-regulated genes indicate a pattern of early and late induced sets of genes. We show that 91 and 44 genes were substantially up and down regulated, respectively, by p53. Functional classification of these genes reveals that they are involved in many aspects of cell function, in addition to growth arrest and apoptosis. Comparison of p53 regulated gene expression profile in LTR6 cells to that of a human lung cancer cell line (H1299) that undergoes growth arrest but not apoptosis demonstrates that only 15% of the genes are common to both systems. This observation supports the presence of two distinct transcriptional programs in response to p53 signaling, one leading to growth arrest and the other to apoptosis. The proapoptotic genes induced only in LTR6 cells like Apaf-1, Sumo-1 and gelsolin among others may suggest a possible explanation for apoptosis in LTR6 cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis / genetics
  • Apoptosis / physiology*
  • Apoptotic Protease-Activating Factor 1
  • Gene Expression Profiling*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Leukemic / genetics
  • Genes*
  • Genes, p53
  • Humans
  • Leukemia, Myeloid / genetics
  • Leukemia, Myeloid / pathology
  • Neoplasm Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Neoplasm Proteins / genetics
  • Neoplasm Proteins / physiology
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis*
  • Proteins / physiology*
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Neoplasm / biosynthesis
  • RNA, Neoplasm / genetics
  • Temperature
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / physiology*


  • APAF1 protein, human
  • Apaf1 protein, mouse
  • Apoptotic Protease-Activating Factor 1
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA, Neoplasm
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53