Intracellular FGF1 protects cells from apoptosis through direct interaction with p53

Cell Mol Life Sci. 2023 Oct 2;80(10):311. doi: 10.1007/s00018-023-04964-9.


Fibroblast growth factor 1 (FGF1) acts by activating specific tyrosine kinase receptors on the cell surface. In addition to this classical mode of action, FGF1 also exhibits intracellular activity. Recently, we found that FGF1 translocated into the cell interior exhibits anti-apoptotic activity independent of receptor activation and downstream signaling. Here, we show that expression of FGF1 increases the survival of cells treated with various apoptosis inducers, but only when wild-type p53 is present. The p53-negative cells were not protected by either ectopically expressed or translocated FGF1. We also confirmed the requirement of p53 for the anti-apoptotic intracellular activity of FGF1 by silencing p53, resulting in loss of the protective effect of FGF1. In contrast, in p53-negative cells, intracellular FGF1 regained its anti-apoptotic properties after transfection with wild-type p53. We also found that FGF1 directly interacts with p53 in cells and that the binding region is located in the DBD domain of p53. We therefore postulate that intracellular FGF1 protects cells from apoptosis by directly interacting with p53.

Keywords: Anti-apoptotic activity; Apoptosis; Fibroblast growth factor 1 (FGF1); Intracellular function; Protein–protein interaction; p53.

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor 1* / genetics
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor 1* / metabolism
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor 1* / pharmacology
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53* / genetics
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53* / metabolism


  • Fibroblast Growth Factor 1
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases