Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, Vol.543, 23-28, 2021
p21(WAF1/CIP1) promotes p53 protein degradation by facilitating p53-Wip1 and p53-Mdm2 interaction
Downregulation of the p53 tumor suppressor in cancers is frequently accompanied by the upregulation of Wip1 (a phosphatase) and Mdm2 (an E3 ubiquitin ligase). Mdm2 binds and ubiquitinates p53, pro-moting its degradation by the proteasome. As the p53/Mdm2 interaction is alleviated by the phosphorylation of the serine-15 (S15) residue of p53, Wip1, which can directly dephosphorylate phospho-S15, facilitates the Mdm2-mediated degradation of p53. Here, we found that p21(WAF1/CIP1), previously shown to bind p53 and Mdm2, reduces the cellular levels of p53 protein by decreasing its stability. This is accompanied by a decrease in p53-S15 phosphorylation levels. In agreement, p21 promotes the p53/Wip1 interaction. Additionally, p21 interacts with Wip1, forming a trimeric complex of p53, p21, and Wip1. Studies using a p21 deletion mutant that cannot bind p53 revealed that the p53/p21 complex is more efficient than p53 alone in facilitating the binding of p53 to Wip1 and Mdm2. These findings indicate that p21 is a novel negative regulator of p53 stability and therefore, may be used as a target to restore p53 activity by preventing the action of Wip1 and Mdm2 on p53. (C) 2021 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc.