Editor-in-Chief: Brüne, Bernhard
Editorial Board: Buchner, Johannes / Lei, Ming / Ludwig, Stephan / Sies, Helmut / Thomas, Douglas D. / Turk, Boris / Wittinghofer, Alfred
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p53-dependent repression of the human MCL-1 gene encoding an anti-apoptotic member of the BCL-2 family: the role of Sp1 and of basic transcription factor binding sites in the MCL-1 promoter
p53 regulates transcription of one anti-apoptotic and four pro-apoptotic members of the BCL-2 family, but nothing is known about the regulation of MCL-1, another anti-apoptotic member of this family, by p53. Confocal microscopic analysis of COS1, HEK 293 and HeLa cells transfected with a p53 expression plasmid demonstrated a decrease in the signal of endogenous MCL-1 compared to neighboring non-transfected cells. Transcription regulation assays showed that the 1826 bp human MCL-1 promoter fragment was repressed up to 30-fold by wild-type p53 in a dose-dependent manner. As shown by electrophoretic mobility shift assays, Sp1 binding to the sites located in the -295 to +16 MCL-1 promoter fragment was decreased in the presence of p53. However, the MCL-1 promoter devoid of all Sp1 binding sites was still repressed by p53, albeit 2-fold weaker than the wild-type promoter. Overexpression of Sp1 reduced p53-dependent repression of the MCL-1 promoter only up to 2.2-fold. Transcription regulation assays performed with MCL-1 promoter deletion mutants showed that most of the p53 inhibitory effect was mediated by the -41 to +16 bp promoter fragment containing binding sites only for TATA-binding protein and other basal transcription factors. We propose a novel, promoter-based mechanism by which p53 down-regulates expression of the anti-apoptotic MCL-1 protein.
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