The epithelial cell transforming sequence 2 (ECT2), a member of the Dbl family of guanine nucleotide exchange factor for Rho GTPases, is required for cytokinesis. The tumor suppressor p53 plays a crucial role in coordinating cellular processes, such as cell cycle arrest and apoptosis, in response to stress signals. Here, we showed that ECT2 is negatively regulated by wild-type p53 but not tumor-derived mutant p53 or other p53 family members. In addition, ECT2 is down-regulated in multiple cell lines by DNA damage agents and Nutlin-3, an MDM2 antagonist, in a p53-dependent manner. We also showed that the activity of the ECT2 promoter is repressed by wild-type p53, and to a lesser extent, by p21. In addition, the second activation domain in p53 is necessary for the efficient repression of ECT2. Importantly, we found that the ECT2 gene is bound by p53 in vivo in response to DNA damage and Nutlin-3 treatment. Furthermore, we provided evidence that inhibition of protein methyltransferases, especially argmine methyltransferases, relieve the repression of ECT2 induced by DNA damage or Nutlin-3 in a p53-dependent manner. Finally, we generated multiple cell lines in which ECT2 is inducibly knocked down and found that ECT2 knockdown triggers cell cycle arrest in G1. Taken together, we uncovered a novel function for ECT2 and provided a novel mechanism by which p53 represses gene expression via protein methyltransferases.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research