Role of p21WAF1 in the Cellular Response to UV


UV or gamma irradiation mediated DNA damage activates p53 and induces cell cycle arrest. Induction of cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p21WAF1 by p53 after DNA damage plays an important role in cell cycle arrest after gamma irradiation. The p53 mediated cell cycle arrest has been postulated to allow cells to repair the DNA damage. Repair of UV damaged DNA occurs primarily by the nucleotide excision pathway (NER). It is known that p21WAF1 binds PCNA and inhibits PCNA function in DNA replication. PCNA is also required for repair by NER but there have been conflicting reports on whether p21 can inhibit PCNA function in NER. It has therefore been difficult to integrate the UV induced cell cycle arrest by p21 in the context of repair of UV damaged DNA. A recent study reported that p21WAF1 protein is degraded after low but not high doses of UV irradiation, that cell cycle arrest after UV is p21 independent, and that at low dose UV irradiation p21 degradation is essential for optimal DNA repair. These findings shed new light on the role of p21 in the cellular response to UV and clarify some outstanding issues concerning p21 function.

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Role of p21WAF1 in the Cellular Response to UV