Evaluation of the molecular mechanisms involved in the gain of function of a Li-Fraumeni TP53 mutation

Silvia Capponcelli, Elena Pedrini, Maria Antonietta Cerone, Valeria Corti, Silvia Fontanesi, Massimo Alessio, Angela Bachi, Silvia Soddu, Domenico Ribatti, Piero Picci, Lee J. Helman, Giorgio Cantelli-Forti, Luca Sangiorgi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The TP53 tumor suppressor gene is the most frequent target for genetic alterations in human cancer. TP53 gene alterations may result in the gain of oncogenic functions such as neoangiogenesis and resistance to therapy. The TP53 germ line mutation C.659A > C (p.Y220S) was identified in stored DNA from related patients with Li-Fraumeni syndrome (LFS) who died after developing clinically aggressive tumors. All of the patients were treated with protocols that included doxorubicin hydrochloride (DX) as a pivotal drug. To define the in vitro mutational phenotype of this germ line mutation, we used murine fibroblasts explanted from wild-type (wt) and p53 knockout (KO) mice from the same littermate. p53Y220S and p53R175H fibroblasts, obtained from p53KO fibroblasts transfected with expression vectors encoding the human Y220S and R175H p53 mutants, respectively, exhibited resistance to DX treatment. Moreover, p53Y220S fibroblasts exhibited angiogenetic properties, and after DX treatment, p53Y220S failed to translocate into the nucleus and showed an increase in its cytosolic levels. DX treatment does not influence p53 distribution within the nuclear and cytosolic compartments in p53R175H fibroblasts. Peroxiredoxin II (Prx II), a protein that is involved in eliminating reactive oxygen species (ROS), showed increased expression intensity in p53Y220S fibroblasts after DX treatment, as observed by two-dimensional electrophoresis analysis. Moreover, Thioredoxin (Trx), a protein that cooperates with Prx II, is overexpressed in p53Y220S mutants under basal conditions. These data suggest a relationship between the presence of the p53Y220S mutation and enhanced levels of Prx II and Trx in mutant fibroblasts. Since one of the mechanisms of the DX antitumor effect has been ascribed to production of ROS, future studies will evaluate the involvement of PrxII and Trx in the chemoresistance of p53Y220S fibroblasts to DX.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)94-103
Number of pages10
JournalHuman mutation
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Gain of function
  • Germ line mutation
  • LFS
  • Li-Fraumeni syndrome
  • TP53
  • p53

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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