Transcriptional activation plays a role in the induction of apoptosis by transiently transfected wild-type p53

Oncogene. 1995 Dec 7;11(11):2197-205.


The p53 tumor suppressor gene has been implicated in the induction of apoptosis in several cell systems. We have recently reported than transiently-transfected wt p53 is capable of inducing apoptosis in certain transformed cell lines. We demonstrated by quantitative analysis using flow cytometry that apoptosis was restricted to the population expressing wt, but not mutant, p53. In the present study we use this model system to analyse the functional domain of p53 in the induction of apoptosis. Several constructs expressing mutations or deletions in the C-terminal oligomerization domain, the N-terminal transactivation domain or the central DNA-binding domain were introduced into HeLa cells, and the ability of the expressed proteins to induce apoptosis was evaluated. All the functional domains were found to be necessary for the induction of apoptosis. In addition, cycloheximide and actinomycin D inhibited wt p53-induced apoptosis. We therefore conclude that p53 acts in this cell system, at least in part, as a transcriptional activator in the induction of apoptosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Apoptosis / genetics*
  • Cell Division / genetics
  • Cycloheximide / pharmacology
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Dactinomycin / pharmacology
  • Genes, p53*
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Transcriptional Activation*
  • Transfection*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / genetics
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / metabolism


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53
  • Dactinomycin
  • Cycloheximide