Background: p51 (p73L/p63/p40/KET), a recently isolated novel p53 homologue, binds to p53-responsive elements to upregulate some p53 target genes and has been suggested to share partially overlapping functions with p53. p51 may be a promising candidate target molecule for anti-cancer therapy.
Methods: In this study, we adenovirally transduced p51A cDNA into human lung, gastric and pancreatic cancer cells and analyzed the intracellular function of p51 in anti-oncogenesis in vitro and in vivo.
Results: Overexpression of p51A revealed an anti-proliferative effect in vitro in all the cancer cells examined in this study. The anchorage-dependent and -independent cell growth of EBC1 cells carrying mutations in both p51 and p53 was suppressed and significant apoptosis following adenoviral transduction with p51 and/or p53 was seen. This growth suppression was cooperatively enhanced by the combined infection with adenoviral vectors encoding both p51 and p53. Furthermore, p51 activated several, but not all, p53-inducible genes, indicating that the mechanisms controlling p51- and p53-mediated tumor suppression differed.
Conclusions: Our observations indicate that, although p51 exhibited reduced anti-oncogenetic effects compared with p53, it cooperatively enhanced the anti-tumor effects of p53. Our results suggest that p51 functions as a tumor suppressor in human cancer cells in vitro and in vivo and may be useful as a potential tool for cancer gene therapy.
Copyright (c) 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.