Status of the p53 tumor suppressor gene in human squamous carcinoma cell lines

Oncol Res. 1992;4(8-9):349-57.


Dominant-negative and/or loss-of-function mutations of the p53 tumor suppressor gene are frequently found in squamous cell carcinomas of the skin and of the head-and-neck region. In order to identify the precise mechanisms of inactivation of p53 in tumors of this class, we examined the status of p53 RNA, protein and DNA in a panel of eight human squamous carcinoma cell lines (head-and-neck, 3; esophagus, 1; lung, 1; uterine cervix, 2; vulva, 1). Three lines (A253, CaLu-1, SqCC/Y1) failed to express any p53 mRNA. A253 cells contained a single p53 allele without mutations in exons 2-9, suggesting that the lack of transcription was the result of mutations in the regulatory region of the gene. Both p53 alleles were deleted in CaLu-1 cells, whereas the single allele present in SqCC/Y1 cells was rearranged and carried two missense mutations in exon 5. Two cell lines (A431, FaDu) expressed only 50% of the normal level of p53 mRNA, either because only one allele was present (A431), or because only one of the two alleles was transcribed (FaDu). The two cervical carcinoma lines (CaSki, C4-1) expressed normal levels of p53 mRNA, but no wild type protein, presumably as a result of accelerated degradation by the human papillomavirus 16 or -18 E6 oncoprotein present in these cells as previously described (Scheffner et al., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 88:5523-5527; 1991). Three of the lines expressed only mutant p53 protein (A431, FaDu, CE-48) resulting from missense mutations in codons 248 and 273.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • Blotting, Western
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / genetics*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Gene Deletion
  • Genes, p53 / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Precipitin Tests
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • RNA, Neoplasm / analysis
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / analysis
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / genetics


  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA, Neoplasm
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53