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A Novel p53 Phosphorylation Site within the MDM2 Ubiquitination Signal: II. A MODEL IN WHICH PHOSPHORYLATION AT SER269 INDUCES A MUTANT CONFORMATION TO p53.

Fraser, Jennifer A; Madhumalar, Arumugam; Blackburn, Elizabeth; Bramham, Janice; Walkinshaw, Malcolm D; Verma, Chandra; Hupp, Tedd R


Jennifer A Fraser

Arumugam Madhumalar

Elizabeth Blackburn

Janice Bramham

Malcolm D Walkinshaw

Chandra Verma

Tedd R Hupp


The p53 DNA-binding domain harbors a conformationally flexible multiprotein binding site that regulates p53 ubiquitination. A novel phosphorylation site exists within this region at Ser269, whose phosphomimetic mutation inactivates p53. The phosphomimetic p53 (S269D) exhibits characteristics of mutant p53: stable binding to Hsp70 in vivo, elevated ubiquitination in vivo, inactivity in DNA binding and transcription, increased thermoinstability using thermal shift assays, and λmax of intrinsic tryptophan fluorescence at 403 nm rather than 346 nm, characteristic of wild type p53. These data indicate that p53 conformational stability is regulated by a phosphoacceptor site within an exposed flexible surface loop and that this can be destabilized by phosphorylation. To test whether other motifs within p53 have similarly evolved, we analyzed the effect of Ser215 mutation on p53 function because Ser215 is another inactivating phosphorylation site in the conformationally flexible PAb240 epitope. The p53S215D protein is inactive like p53S269D, whereas p53S215A is as active as p53S269A. However, the double mutant p53S215A/S269A was transcriptionally inactive and more thermally unstable than either individual Ser-Ala loop mutant. Molecular dynamics simulations suggest that (i) solvation of phospho-Ser215 and phospho-Ser269 by positive charged residues or solvent water leads to local unfolding, which is accompanied by local destabilization of the N-terminal loop and global destabilization of p53, and (ii) the double alanine 215/269 mutation disrupts hydrogen bonding normally stabilized by both Ser215 and Ser269. These data indicate that p53 has evolved two serine phosphoacceptor residues within conformationally flexible epitopes that normally stabilize the p53 DNA-binding domain but whose phosphorylation induces a mutant conformation to wild type p53.


Fraser, J. A., Madhumalar, A., Blackburn, E., Bramham, J., Walkinshaw, M. D., Verma, C., & Hupp, T. R. (2010). A Novel p53 Phosphorylation Site within the MDM2 Ubiquitination Signal: II. A MODEL IN WHICH PHOSPHORYLATION AT SER269 INDUCES A MUTANT CONFORMATION TO p53. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 285, 37773-37786.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 2010
Deposit Date Mar 21, 2014
Print ISSN 0021-9258
Electronic ISSN 1083-351X
Publisher American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 285
Pages 37773-37786
Keywords Protein Denaturation; Protein Stability; Transcription Factors; Tryptophan; Ubiquitination; DNA Binding; p53
Phosphorylation; Thermal Shift; Transcription;
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