Many Rho GTPase activation proteins (RhoGAPs) are deleted or downregulated in cancers, but the functional consequences are still unclear. Here, we show that the RhoGAP ArhGAP11A induces cell-cycle arrest and apoptosis by binding to the tumor suppressor p53. The RhoGAP domain of ArhGAP11A binds to the tetramerization domain of p53, but not to its family members p63 or p73. The interaction stabilizes the tetrameric conformation of p53 and enhances its DNA-binding activity, thereby inducing cell-cycle arrest and apoptosis. Upon DNA damage stress, ArhGAP11A accumulates in the nucleus and interacts with p53, whereas knockdown of ArhGAP11A partially blocks p53 transcriptional activity. These findings explain why RhoGAPs are frequently deleted in cancers and suggest that the RhoGAP family sits at the crossroads between the cell-migration and proliferation pathways.
Copyright © 2013 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.