TP53 truncating mutations are common in human tumors and are thought to give rise to p53-null alleles. Here, we show that TP53 exon-6 truncating mutations occur at higher than expected frequencies and produce proteins that lack canonical p53 tumor suppressor activities but promote cancer cell proliferation, survival, and metastasis. Functionally and molecularly, these p53 mutants resemble the naturally occurring alternative p53 splice variant, p53-psi. Accordingly, these mutants can localize to mitochondria where they promote tumor phenotypes by binding and activating the mitochondria inner pore permeability regulator, Cyclophilin D (CypD). Together, our studies reveal that TP53 exon-6 truncating mutations, contrary to current beliefs, act beyond p53 loss to promote tumorigenesis, and could inform the development of strategies to target cancers driven by these prevalent mutations.
- Raffaella Sordella
- Marc Ladanyi
- Scott W Lowe
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Animal experimentation: All animal experiments were performed in accordance with National Research Council's Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. Protocols were approved by the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Animal Care and Use Committee (933922-1 Development of mouse models to study human lung cancer - integrated protocols).
- Joaquín M Espinosa, University of Colorado School of Medicine, United States
© 2016, Sordella et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
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Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) are often associated with polysomes, indicating coding potential. However, only a handful of endogenous proteins encoded by putative lncRNAs have been identified and assigned a function. Here, we report the discovery of a putative gastrointestinal-tract-specific lncRNA (LINC00675) that is regulated by the pioneer transcription factor FOXA1 and encodes a conserved small protein of 79 amino acids which we termed FORCP (FOXA1-Regulated Conserved Small Protein). FORCP transcript is undetectable in most cell types but is abundant in well-differentiated colorectal cancer (CRC) cells where it functions to inhibit proliferation, clonogenicity, and tumorigenesis. The epitope-tagged and endogenous FORCP protein predominantly localizes to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). In response to ER stress, FORCP depletion results in decreased apoptosis. Our findings on the initial characterization of FORCP demonstrate that FORCP is a novel, conserved small protein encoded by a mis-annotated lncRNA that regulates apoptosis and tumorigenicity in well-differentiated CRC cells.