Mutant p53 elicits context-dependent pro-tumorigenic phenotypes

Jennifer J. McCann, Irina A. Vasilevskaya, Christopher McNair, Peter Gallagher, Neermala Poudel Neupane, Renée de Leeuw, Ayesha A. Shafi, Emanuela Dylgjeri, Amy C. Mandigo, Matthew J. Schiewer, Karen E. Knudsen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The tumor suppressor gene TP53 is the most frequently mutated gene in numerous cancer types, including prostate cancer (PCa). Specifically, missense mutations in TP53 are selectively enriched in PCa, and cluster to particular “hot spots” in the p53 DNA binding domain with mutation at the R273 residue occurring most frequently. While this residue is similarly mutated to R273C-p53 or R273H-p53 in all cancer types examined, in PCa selective enrichment of R273C-p53 is observed. Importantly, examination of clinical datasets indicated that TP53 heterozygosity can either be maintained or loss of heterozygosity (LOH) occurs. Thus, to mimic tumor-associated mutant p53, R273C-p53 and R273H-p53 isogenic PCa models were developed in the presence or absence of wild-type p53. In the absence of wild-type p53, both R273C-p53 and R273H-p53 exhibited similar loss of DNA binding, transcriptional profiles, and loss of canonical tumor suppressor functions associated with wild-type p53. In the presence of wild-type p53 expression, both R273C-p53 and R273H-p53 supported canonical p53 target gene expression yet elicited distinct cistromic and transcriptional profiles when compared to each other. Moreover, heterozygous modeling of R273C-p53 or R273H-p53 expression resulted in distinct phenotypic outcomes in vitro and in vivo. Thus, mutant p53 acts in a context-dependent manner to elicit pro-tumorigenic transcriptional profiles, providing critical insight into mutant p53-mediated prostate cancer progression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)444-458
Number of pages15
Issue number3
StatePublished - 12 Jan 2022
Externally publishedYes


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