p53 is necessary for the apoptotic response mediated by a transient increase of Ras activity

Peihong Ma, Maureen Magut, Xinbin Chen, Chang Yan Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The tumor suppressor p53 eliminates cancer-prone cells via multiple mechanisms, including apoptosis. Ras elicits apoptosis in cells after protein kinase C (PKC) downregulation. However, the role of p53 in Ras-mediated apoptosis has not been fully investigated. Here, we demonstrate that mouse fibroblasts that express wild-type p53 are more susceptible to apoptosis elicited by PKC inhibition if Ras is transiently expressed or upregulated as opposed to stably expressed. In the latter case, p53 is frequently mutated. Transiently increased Ras activity induces Bax, and PKC inhibition augments this induction. Overexpression of E6 inactivates p53 and thereby suppresses both Bax induction and apoptosis. In contrast, Bax is not induced in stable ras transfectants, regardless of PKC inhibition. The data suggest that short- and long-term activation of Ras use a different mechanism(s) to initiate apoptosis. The status of p53 may contribute to such differences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2928-2938
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular and Cellular Biology
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cell Biology


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