Revealing a human p53 universe

Nucleic Acids Res. 2018 Sep 19;46(16):8153-8167. doi: 10.1093/nar/gky720.


p53 transcriptional networks are well-characterized in many organisms. However, a global understanding of requirements for in vivo p53 interactions with DNA and relationships with transcription across human biological systems in response to various p53 activating situations remains limited. Using a common analysis pipeline, we analyzed 41 data sets from genome-wide ChIP-seq studies of which 16 have associated gene expression data, including our recent primary data with normal human lymphocytes. The resulting extensive analysis, accessible at p53 BAER hub via the UCSC browser, provides a robust platform to characterize p53 binding throughout the human genome including direct influence on gene expression and underlying mechanisms. We establish the impact of spacers and mismatches from consensus on p53 binding in vivo and propose that once bound, neither significantly influences the likelihood of expression. Our rigorous approach revealed a large p53 genome-wide cistrome composed of >900 genes directly targeted by p53. Importantly, we identify a core cistrome signature composed of genes appearing in over half the data sets, and we identify signatures that are treatment- or cell-specific, demonstrating new functions for p53 in cell biology. Our analysis reveals a broad homeostatic role for human p53 that is relevant to both basic and translational studies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • DNA, Intergenic / genetics
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics*
  • Databases, Genetic
  • Gene Expression Regulation / genetics
  • Genes / genetics
  • Genome, Human / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Lymphocytes
  • Protein Biosynthesis
  • Transcription, Genetic*
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / genetics*


  • DNA, Intergenic
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • TP53 protein, human
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53