Cooperative DNA binding of p53 with TFIID (TBP): A possible mechanism for transcriptional activation

Xinbin Chen, George Farmer, Hua Zhu, Ron Prywes, Carol Prives

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

106 Scopus citations


The p53 tumor-suppressor gene product, a sequence-specific DNA-binding protein, has been shown to act both as a transcriptional activator and repressor in vivo and in vitro. Consistent with its roles in regulating transcription are recent observations that p53 binds directly to the TATA box-binding protein (TBP) subunit of the basal transcription factor TFIID. Here, we show that p53 cooperates with either recombinant TBP or partially purified TFIID in binding to a DNA fragment containing both a specific p53-binding site (RGC) and a TATA box (RGC-TATA). Surprisingly, both TBP and TFIID also stimulate p53 binding to DNA containing a specific p53-binding site but lacking a TATA box. These data are supported by the observation that p53 and Drosophila TBP combinatorily activate transcription in vivo. Our results suggest that p53 activates transcription through the formation of a more stable p53-TFIID-promoter complex. We also examined whether p53 might affect the ability of TBP or TFIID to interact with DNA containing a TATA box but lacking a p53-binding site. Although p53 strongly inhibited the interaction of TBP with such DNA, it had virtually no effect on TFIID binding. Thus, transcriptional repression by p53 may require additional functions other than inhibiting TBP binding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1837-1849
Number of pages13
JournalGenes and Development
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • Cooperative DNA binding
  • p53
  • TBP and TFIID
  • Transcriptional activation and repression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Genetics


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