Tumor suppressor p53 is the most frequently mutated gene in human tumors. Many tumor-associated mutant p53 (mutp53) proteins gain new tumor-promoting activities, including increased proliferation, metastasis and chemoresistance of tumor cells, which are defined as gain-of-functions (GOFs). Mutp53 proteins often accumulate at high levels in human tumors, which is important for mutp53 to exert their GOFs. The mechanism underlying mutp53 proteins accumulation in tumors is not fully understood. Here, we report that BAG5, a member of Bcl-2-associated athanogene (BAG) family proteins, promotes mutp53 accumulation in tumors, which in turn enhances mutp53 GOFs. Mechanistically, BAG5 interacts with mutp53 proteins to protect mutp53 from ubiquitination and degradation by E3 ubiquitin ligases MDM2 and CHIP, which in turn promotes mutp53 protein accumulation and therefore GOFs in promoting cell proliferation, tumor growth, cell migration and chemoresistance. BAG5 is frequently overexpressed in many human tumors and the overexpression of BAG5 is associated with poor prognosis of cancer patients. Altogether, this study revealed that inhibition of mutp53 degradation by BAG5 is a novel and critical mechanism underlying mutp53 protein accumulation and GOFs in cancer. Furthermore, our results also uncovered that promoting mutp53 accumulation and GOFs is a novel mechanism of BAG5 in tumorigenesis.
Keywords: BAG5; metastasis; mutant p53 GOFs; ubiquitination.