p53 inactivation by MDM2 and MDMX negative feedback loops in testicular germ cell tumors
Volume 9, Issue 7
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April 1, 2010
Pages 1411 - 1420http://dx.doi.org/10.4161/cc.9.7.11255
Authors: Baozong Li, Qian Cheng, Zhenyu Li and Jiandong Chen View affiliations
Testicular germ cell tumors (TGCT) are unique in their excellent response to DNA-damaging chemotherapy. Mutation of p53 is rare in both untreated and relapsed TGCTs, suggesting that p53 fails to respond effectively against malignant transformation in germ cells. Previous studies implicated the presence of a poorly defined TGCT-specific mechanism of p53 inactivation. Here we show that disruption of p53-MDM2 binding using the MDM2-specific inhibitor Nutlin activates p53 in TGCT cells and is sufficient to induce strong apoptosis. Knockdown of MDMX cooperates with Nutlin to activate p53. Surprisingly, we found that p53 activation induced a two-fold increase in MDMX mRNA and protein expression in TGCT cells. A p53-responsive promoter is identified in MDMX intron 1 that contains a functional p53-binding site, suggesting that MDMX also functions as a negative feedback regulator of p53 in a cell line-dependent fashion. These findings suggest that MDM2 and MDMX are responsible for the functional inactivation of p53 in TGCT. Furthermore, TGCT cells are unique in having a strong apoptosis response to p53. Direct activation of p53 by targeting MDM2 and MDMX may provide a backup approach for the treatment of TGCTs resistant to DNA-damaging drugs.