Iron regulatory protein 2 is a suppressor of mutant p53 in tumorigenesis

Yanhong Zhang, Xiuli Feng, Jin Zhang, Minyi Chen, Eric Huang, Xinbin Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


p53 is known to play a role in iron homeostasis and is required for FDXR-mediated iron metabolism via iron regulatory protein 2 (IRP2). Interestingly, p53 is frequently mutated in tumors wherein iron is often accumulated, suggesting that mutant p53 may exert its gain of function by altering iron metabolism. In this study, we found that FDXR deficiency decreased mutant p53 expression along with altered iron metabolism in p53R270H/− MEFs and cancer cells carrying mutant p53. Consistently, we found that decreased expression of mutant p53 by FDXR deficiency inhibited mutant p53-R270H to induce carcinoma and high grade pleomorphic sarcoma in FDXR+/−; p53R270H/− mice as compared with p53R270H/− mice. Moreover, we found that like its effect on wild-type p53, loss of IRP2 increased mutant p53 expression. However, unlike its effect to suppress cell growth in cells carrying wild-type p53, loss of IRP2 promoted cell growth in cancer cells expressing mutant p53. Finally, we found that ectopic expression of IRP2 suppressed cell growth in a mutant p53-dependent manner. Together, our data indicate that mutant p53 gain-of-function can be suppressed by IRP2 and FDXR deficiency, both of which may be explored to target tumors carrying mutant p53.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6256-6269
Number of pages14
Issue number35
StatePublished - Aug 29 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cancer Research


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