Human smooth muscle α-actin gene is a transcriptional target of the p53 tumor suppressor protein

Katherine A. Comer, Phillip A. Dennis, Lydia Armstrong, Joseph J. Catino, Michael B. Kastan, C. Chandra Kumar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


Smooth muscle (sm) α-actin is expressed in vascular smooth muscle cells and fibroblast cells. Its expression is regulated by cell proliferation and repressed during oncogenic transformation. In this study, we demonstrate that p53 activation is associated with a dramatic increase in organized microfilament bundles and an increase in sm α-actin mRNA level. Wild-type p53, but not mutant p53, strongly stimulated human sm α-actin promoter activity in p53 null cell lines. The sequences homologous to the p53 consensus sequence and to the p53 binding sequence from the muscle creatine kinase were found within a specific region of the sm α-actin promoter. This sequence was sufficient to confer p53-dependent activation to a heterologous promoter and p53 was capable of binding to this sequence as assessed by gel shift analysis. Ionizing irradiation of colorectal tumor cells caused an increase in α-actin mRNA level in a p53-dependent manner. Taken together, these results demonstrate that human sm actin gene is a transcriptional target for p53 tumor suppressor protein and represents the first example of a cytoskeletal gene with a functionally defined p53 response element.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1299-1308
Number of pages10
Issue number10
StatePublished - Mar 12 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Cytoskeleton
  • Transactivation
  • p53
  • α-actin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cancer Research


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