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Subtelomeric p53 binding prevents accumulation of DNA damage at human telomeres. EMBO J 2016 Jan 18;35(2):193-207



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Telomeres and tumor suppressor protein TP53 (p53) function in genome protection, but a direct role of p53 at telomeres has not yet been described. Here, we have identified non-canonical p53-binding sites within the human subtelomeres that suppress the accumulation of DNA damage at telomeric repeat DNA. These non-canonical subtelomeric p53-binding sites conferred transcription enhancer-like functions that include an increase in local histone H3K9 and H3K27 acetylation and stimulation of subtelomeric transcripts, including telomere repeat-containing RNA (TERRA). p53 suppressed formation of telomere-associated γH2AX and prevented telomere DNA degradation in response to DNA damage stress. Our findings indicate that p53 provides a direct chromatin-associated protection to human telomeres, as well as other fragile genomic sites. We propose that p53-associated chromatin modifications enhance local DNA repair or protection to provide a previously unrecognized tumor suppressor function of p53.

Author List

Tutton S, Azzam GA, Stong N, Vladimirova O, Wiedmer A, Monteith JA, Beishline K, Wang Z, Deng Z, Riethman H, McMahon SB, Murphy M, Lieberman PM


Sean Tutton MD Vice Chair, Professor in the Radiology department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Carrier Proteins
DNA Damage
HCT116 Cells
Protein Binding
Tumor Suppressor Protein p53
jenkins-FCD Prod-480 9a4deaf152b0b06dd18151814fff2e18f6c05280