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Hematology - Oncology

Loss of p53 Ser18 and Atm Results in Embryonic Lethality without Cooperation in Tumorigenesis
Published: Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Author: Heather L. Armata et al.

by Heather L. Armata, Punita Shroff, David E. Garlick, Krista Penta, Andrew R. Tapper, Hayla K. Sluss

Phosphorylation at murine Serine 18 (human Serine 15) is a critical regulatory process for the tumor suppressor function of p53. p53Ser18 residue is a substrate for ataxia-telangiectasia mutated (ATM) and ATM-related (ATR) protein kinases. Studies of mice with a germ-line mutation that replaces Ser18 with Ala (p53S18A mice) have demonstrated that loss of phosphorylation of p53Ser18 leads to the development of tumors, including lymphomas, fibrosarcomas, leukemia and leiomyosarcomas. The predominant lymphoma is B-cell lymphoma, which is in contrast to the lymphomas observed in Atm-/- animals. This observation and the fact that multiple kinases phosphorylate p53Ser18 suggest Atm-independent tumor suppressive functions of p53Ser18. Therefore, in order to examine p53Ser18 function in relationship to ATM, we analyzed the lifespan and tumorigenesis of mice with combined mutations in p53Ser18 and Atm. Surprisingly, we observed no cooperation in survival and tumorigenesis in compound p53S18A and Atm-/- animals. However, we observed embryonic lethality in the compound mutant animals. In addition, the homozygous p53Ser18 mutant allele impacted the weight of Atm-/- animals. These studies examine the genetic interaction of p53Ser18 and Atm in vivo. Furthermore, these studies demonstrate a role of p53Ser18 in regulating embryonic survival and motor coordination.