Dual-specificity phosphatase 26 is a novel p53 phosphatase and inhibits p53 tumor suppressor functions in human neuroblastoma

Oncogene. 2010 Sep 2;29(35):4938-46. doi: 10.1038/onc.2010.244. Epub 2010 Jun 21.


Chemoresistance is a major cause of treatment failure and poor outcome in neuroblastoma. In this study, we investigated the expression and function of dual-specificity phosphatase 26 (DUSP26), also known as mitogen-activated protein kinase phophatase-8, in human neuroblastoma. We found that DUSP26 was expressed in a majority of neuroblastoma cell lines and tissue specimens. Importantly, we found that DUSP26 promotes the resistance of human neuroblastoma to doxorubicin-induced apoptosis by acting as a p53 phosphatase to downregulate p53 tumor suppressor function in neuroblastoma cells. Inhibiting DUSP26 expression in the IMR-32 neuroblastoma cell line enhanced doxorubicin-induced p53 phosphorylation at Ser20 and Ser37, p21, Puma, Bax expression as well as apoptosis. In contrast, DUSP26 overexpression in the SK-N-SH cell line inhibited doxorubicin-induced p53 phosphorylation at Ser20 and Ser37, p21, Puma, Bax expression and apoptosis. Using in vitro and in vivo assays, we found that DUSP26 binds to p53 and dephosphorylates p53 at Ser20 and Ser37. In this report, we show that DUSP26 functions as a p53 phosphatase, which suppresses downstream p53 activity in response to genotoxic stress. This suggests that inhibition of this phosphatase may increase neuroblastoma chemosensitivity and DUSP26 is a novel therapeutic target for this aggressive pediatric malignancy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Doxorubicin / pharmacology
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm
  • Dual-Specificity Phosphatases / genetics
  • Dual-Specificity Phosphatases / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase Phosphatases / genetics
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase Phosphatases / metabolism*
  • Neuroblastoma / enzymology*
  • Neuroblastoma / genetics
  • Neuroblastoma / metabolism
  • Neuroblastoma / pathology
  • Phosphorylation
  • Serine / metabolism
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / chemistry
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / metabolism*


  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53
  • Serine
  • Doxorubicin
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase Phosphatases
  • DUSP26 protein, human
  • Dual-Specificity Phosphatases