p73 poses a barrier to malignant transformation by limiting anchorage-independent growth

EMBO J. 2008 Mar 5;27(5):792-803. doi: 10.1038/emboj.2008.13. Epub 2008 Jan 31.


p53 is known to prevent tumour formation by restricting the proliferation of damaged or oncogene-expressing cells. In contrast, how the p53 family member p73 suppresses tumour formation remains elusive. Using a step-wise transformation protocol for human cells, we show that, in premalignant stages, expression of the transactivation-competent p73 isoform TAp73 is triggered in response to pRB pathway alterations. TAp73 expression at this stage of transformation results in increased sensitivity to chemotherapeutic drugs and oxidative stress and inhibits proliferation and survival at high cell density. Importantly, TAp73 triggers a transcriptional programme to prevent anchorage-independent growth, which is considered a crucial hallmark of fully transformed cells. An essential suppressor of anchorage-independent growth is KCNK1, which is directly transactivated by TAp73 and commonly downregulated in glioma, melanoma and ovarian cancer. Oncogenic Ras switches p73 expression from TAp73 to the oncogenic deltaNp73 isoform in a phosphatidyl-inositol 3-kinase-dependent manner. Our results implicate TAp73 as a barrier to anchorage-independent growth and indicate that downregulation of TAp73 is a key transforming activity of oncogenic Ras mutants.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Humans
  • Nuclear Proteins / genetics
  • Nuclear Proteins / metabolism*
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Tumor Protein p73
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins / genetics
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins / metabolism*


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • TP73 protein, human
  • Tumor Protein p73
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • delta Np73 protein, human

Associated data

  • GEO/GSE7201