Cross-talks in the p53 family: ΔNp63 is an anti-apoptotic target for ΔNp73α and p53 gain-of-function mutants

Mauro Lanza, Barbara Marinari, Marina Papoutsaki, Maria Laura Giustizieri, Yuri D'Alessandra, Sergio Chimenti, Luisa Guerrini, Antonio Costanzo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The p53 family of transcription factors plays a pivotal role in the control of the cellular response to DNA damaging agents. In addition to pro-apoptotic molecules such as p53, TAp73 and TAp63, this gene family also encodes for the anti-apoptotic molecules ΔNp73, ΔNp63, ΔNp53, and p53 mutants are often found in tumor cells, that have the role to limit and to modulate the pro-apoptotic side of the family. The ratio between the different members of the family is critical to make the life or death decision following DNA damage and is tightly regulated by post-translational and transcriptional mechanisms. In this study we have uncovered a novel positive feedback that involves the transcriptional activation of the anti-apoptotic molecule ΔNp63 by the anti-apoptotic molecules ΔNp73 and mutant p53, and that is put into motion upon treatment with a subset of DNA damaging agents such as Doxorubicin and 5-FU. ΔNp73 and mutant p53 associate with the ΔNp63 promoter inducing its transcription and this is enhanced by doxorubicin treatment. Furthermore we have observed that ΔNp73- and mutp53-mediated activation of the ΔNp63 promoter requires the functionality of the proximal CCAAT boxes of this promoter, being hampered by mutation of CCAAT boxes or by dominant negative NFYA expression. This mechanism may serve as an additional control of the response of a normal cell to DNA damage or as an anti-apoptotic barrier of cancer cells subjected to DNA damage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1996-2004
Number of pages9
JournalCell Cycle
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - Sept 1 2006


  • Apoptosis
  • Cancer
  • CCAAT box
  • DNA damage
  • NFY
  • p53
  • p63
  • p73
  • Transcription

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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