J Biol Chem. 2011 May 20;286(20):18251-60. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M110.208587. Epub 2011 Mar 28.
Cancer susceptibility polymorphism of p53 at codon 72 affects phosphorylation and degradation of p53 protein.
The common polymorphism of p53 at codon 72, either encoding proline or arginine, has drawn attention as a genetic factor associated with clinical outcome or cancer risk for the last 2 decades. We now show that these two polymorphic variants differ in protein structure, especially within the N-terminal region and, as a consequence, differ in post-translational modification at the N terminus. The arginine form (p53-72R) shows significantly enhanced phosphorylation at Ser-6 and Ser-20 compared with the proline form (p53-72P). We also show diminished Mdm2-mediated degradation of p53-72R compared with p53-72P, which is at least partly brought about by higher levels of phosphorylation at Ser-20 in p53-72R. Furthermore, enhanced p21 expression in p53-72R-expressing cells, which is dependent on phosphorylation at Ser-6, was demonstrated. Differential p21 expression between the variants was also observed upon activation of TGF-β signaling. Collectively, we demonstrate a novel molecular difference and simultaneously suggest a difference in the tumor-suppressing function of the variants.