p63α and ΔNp63α can induce cell cycle arrest and apoptosis and differentially regulate p53 target genes

M. Dohn, S. Zhang, Xinbin Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

244 Scopus citations


The p53 tumor suppressor protein plays a critical role in the regulation of the cell cycle and apoptosis. The importance of p53's functions is underscored by the high incidence of p53 mutations in human cancers. Recently, two p53-related proteins, p73 and p63, were identified as members of the p53 gene family. Multiple isoforms of p73 have been found, including ΔN variants in which the N-termini are truncated, p63 is expressed as three major forms, p63α, p63β and p63γ, each of which differ in their C-termini. All three forms can be alternatively transcribed from a cryptic promoter located within intron 3, producing ΔNp63α, ΔNp63β and ΔNp63γ. The high degree of similarity of p73 and p63 to evolutionarily conserved regions of p53 suggests that these proteins play an important and potentially redundant role in regulating cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. Here we describe the characterization of cell lines generated to inducibly express p63α and ΔNp63α. We have found that p63α and ΔNp63α can differentially regulate endogenous p53 target genes and induce cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. Deletion of the N-terminal 26 amino acids of ΔNp63α abolished its ability to transactivate p53 target genes and induce cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. This indicates that a putative transactivation domain exists within the N-terminus of the ΔN variants of p63. Furthermore, the differential regulation of p53 target genes by p63α and ΔNp63α suggests that p63 and p53 utilize both similar and different signaling pathways to execute their cellular functions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3193-3205
Number of pages13
Issue number25
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes



  • Apoptosis
  • Cell cycle arrest
  • p53
  • p63
  • p73

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cancer Research
  • Genetics

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