Repression of p53-target gene Bbc3/PUMA by MYSM1 is essential for the survival of hematopoietic multipotent progenitors and contributes to stem cell maintenance

Cell Death Differ. 2016 May;23(5):759-75. doi: 10.1038/cdd.2015.140. Epub 2016 Jan 15.


p53 is a central mediator of cellular stress responses, and its precise regulation is essential for the normal progression of hematopoiesis. MYSM1 is an epigenetic regulator essential for the maintenance of hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) function, hematopoietic progenitor survival, and lymphocyte development. We recently demonstrated that all developmental and hematopoietic phenotypes of Mysm1 deficiency are p53-mediated and rescued in the Mysm1(-/-)p53(-/-) mouse model. However, the mechanisms triggering p53 activation in Mysm1(-/-) HSPCs, and the pathways downstream of p53 driving different aspects of the Mysm1(-/-) phenotype remain unknown. Here we show the transcriptional activation of p53 stress responses in Mysm1(-/-) HSPCs. Mechanistically, we find that the MYSM1 protein associates with p53 and colocalizes to promoters of classical p53-target genes Bbc3/PUMA (p53 upregulated modulator of apoptosis) and Cdkn1a/p21. Furthermore, it antagonizes their p53-driven expression by modulating local histone modifications (H3K27ac and H3K4me3) and p53 recruitment. Using double-knockout mouse models, we establish that PUMA, but not p21, is an important mediator of p53-driven Mysm1(-/-) hematopoietic dysfunction. Specifically, Mysm1(-/-)Puma(-/-) mice show full rescue of multipotent progenitor (MPP) viability, partial rescue of HSC quiescence and function, but persistent lymphopenia. Through transcriptome analysis of Mysm1(-/-)Puma(-/-) MPPs, we demonstrate strong upregulation of other p53-induced mediators of apoptosis and cell-cycle arrest. The full viability of Mysm1(-/-)Puma(-/-) MPPs, despite strong upregulation of many other pro-apoptotic mediators, establishes PUMA as the essential non-redundant effector of p53-induced MPP apoptosis. Furthermore, we identify potential mediators of p53-dependent but PUMA-independent Mysm1(-/-)hematopoietic deficiency phenotypes. Overall, our study provides novel insight into the cell-type-specific roles of p53 and its downstream effectors in hematopoiesis using unique models of p53 hyperactivity induced by endogenous stress. We conclude that MYSM1 is a critical negative regulator of p53 transcriptional programs in hematopoiesis, and that its repression of Bbc3/PUMA expression is essential for MPP survival, and partly contributes to maintaining HSC function.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis
  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cell Survival
  • Endopeptidases / deficiency
  • Endopeptidases / genetics
  • Endopeptidases / metabolism*
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Multipotent Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Multipotent Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Trans-Activators
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / deficiency
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / genetics
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / metabolism*
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins / metabolism*
  • Ubiquitin-Specific Proteases


  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins
  • PUMA protein, mouse
  • Trans-Activators
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • Endopeptidases
  • MYSM1 protein, mouse
  • Ubiquitin-Specific Proteases