Regulation of p63 function by Mdm2 and MdmX

DNA Cell Biol. 2001 Jun;20(6):321-30. doi: 10.1089/10445490152122433.


p63, a p53-related protein, has been shown to activate p53-responsive genes and induce apoptosis in certain cell types. In this study, we examined the effects of Mdm2 and MdmX proteins on p63 transactivation, apoptosis, and protein levels. The isoforms of p63 most structurally similar to p53, p63gamma (p51A) and p63alpha (p51B), were chosen for study. Our results confirm earlier reports demonstrating that although both p63 isoforms can transactivate p53-responsive promoters and induce apoptosis, p63gamma has a stronger transactivation potential and is a more potent inducer of apoptosis than is p63alpha. In addition, both Mdm2 and MdmX were able to inhibit the transactivation induced by p63gamma and p63alpha. However, only Mdm2 overexpression led to a detectable decrease in p63-induced apoptosis. Although Mdm2 binding to p53 triggers ubiquitin-mediated proteosome degradation, p63 protein levels were unaltered by association with either Mdm2 or MdmX. Finally, immunofluorescence experiments showed that both p63 isoforms were localized in the nucleus and could be exported when coexpressed with Mdm2 but not with MdmX. These findings suggest that both Mdm2 and MdmX can downregulate p63 transactivation potential; however, only Mdm2 is capable of inhibiting the apoptotic function of p63 by removing it from the nucleus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • 3T3 Cells
  • Animals
  • Apoptosis
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism
  • Down-Regulation
  • Membrane Proteins*
  • Mice
  • Nuclear Proteins*
  • Phosphoproteins / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Phosphoproteins / metabolism*
  • Plasmids
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Protein Isoforms / metabolism
  • Protein Isoforms / physiology
  • Protein Transport
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / physiology*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-mdm2
  • Trans-Activators*
  • Transcriptional Activation
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • CKAP4 protein, human
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Phosphoproteins
  • Protein Isoforms
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Trans-Activators
  • Trp63 protein, mouse
  • Mdm2 protein, mouse
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-mdm2