p53 can repress transcription of cell cycle genes through a p21(WAF1/CIP1)-dependent switch from MMB to DREAM protein complex binding at CHR promoter elements

Cell Cycle. 2012 Dec 15;11(24):4661-72. doi: 10.4161/cc.22917. Epub 2012 Nov 27.


The tumor suppressor p53 plays an important role in cell cycle arrest by downregulating transcription. Many genes repressed by p53 code for proteins with functions in G₂/M. A large portion of these genes is controlled by cell cycle-dependent elements (CDE) and cell cycle genes homology regions (CHR) in their promoters. Cyclin B2 is an example of such a gene, with a function at the transition from G₂ to mitosis. We find that p53-dependent downregulation of cyclin B2 promoter activity is dependent on an intact CHR element. In the presence of high levels of p53 or p21(WAF1/CIP1), protein binding to the CHR switches from MMB to DREAM complex by shifting MuvB core-associated proteins from B-Myb to E2F4/DP1/p130. The results suggest a model for p53-dependent transcriptional repression by which p53 directly activates p21(WAF1/CIP1). The inhibitor then prevents further phosphorylation of p130 by cyclin-dependent kinases. The presence of hypophosphorylated pocket proteins shifts the equilibrium for complex formation from MMB to DREAM. In the case of promoters that do not hold CDE or E2F elements, binding of DREAM and MMB solely relies on a CHR site. Thus, p53 can repress target genes indirectly through CHR elements.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Cycle / drug effects*
  • Cell Cycle / genetics
  • Cyclin B2 / genetics
  • Cyclin B2 / metabolism
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p21 / genetics
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p21 / metabolism*
  • Doxorubicin / pharmacology
  • HCT116 Cells
  • Humans
  • Kv Channel-Interacting Proteins / genetics
  • Kv Channel-Interacting Proteins / metabolism
  • Mice
  • NIH 3T3 Cells
  • Protein Binding / drug effects
  • Protein Binding / genetics
  • Repressor Proteins / genetics
  • Repressor Proteins / metabolism
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / genetics
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / metabolism*


  • Cyclin B2
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p21
  • KCNIP3 protein, human
  • Kv Channel-Interacting Proteins
  • Repressor Proteins
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53
  • Doxorubicin