Nucleotide biosynthesis is fundamental to normal cell proliferation as well as to oncogenesis. Tumor suppressor p53, which prevents aberrant cell proliferation, is destabilized through ubiquitylation by MDM2. Ubiquitin-specific protease 7 (USP7) plays a dualistic role in p53 regulation and has been proposed to deubiquitylate either p53 or MDM2. Here, we show that guanosine 5'-monophosphate synthase (GMPS) is required for USP7-mediated stabilization of p53. Normally, most GMPS is sequestered in the cytoplasm, separated from nuclear USP7 and p53. In response to genotoxic stress or nucleotide deprivation, GMPS becomes nuclear and facilitates p53 stabilization by promoting its transfer from MDM2 to a GMPS-USP7 deubiquitylation complex. Intriguingly, cytoplasmic sequestration of GMPS requires ubiquitylation by TRIM21, a ubiquitin ligase associated with autoimmune disease. These results implicate a classic nucleotide biosynthetic enzyme and a ubiquitin ligase, better known for its role in autoimmune disease, in p53 control.
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