Shaping the regulation of the p53 mRNA tumour suppressor: the co-evolution of genetic signatures

Published on Sep 13, 2019in BMC Cancer3.15
· DOI :10.1186/S12885-019-6118-Y
Konstantinos Karakostis10
Estimated H-index: 10
(University of Paris),
Robin Fåhraeus27
Estimated H-index: 27
(Umeå University)
Structured RNA regulatory motifs exist from the prebiotic stages of the RNA world to the more complex eukaryotic systems. In cases where a functional RNA structure is within the coding sequence a selective pressure drives a parallel co-evolution of the RNA structure and the encoded peptide domain. The p53-MDM2 axis, describing the interactions between the p53 tumor suppressor and the MDM2 E3 ubiquitin ligase, serves as particularly useful model revealing how secondary RNA structures have co-evolved along with corresponding interacting protein motifs, thus having an impact on protein – RNA and protein – protein interactions; and how such structures developed signal-dependent regulation in mammalian systems. The p53(BOX-I) RNA sequence binds the C-terminus of MDM2 and controls p53 synthesis while the encoded peptide domain binds MDM2 and controls p53 degradation. The BOX-I peptide domain is also located within p53 transcription activation domain. The folding of the p53 mRNA structure has evolved from temperature-regulated in pre-vertebrates to an ATM kinase signal-dependent pathway in mammalian cells. The protein – protein interaction evolved in vertebrates and became regulated by the same signaling pathway. At the same time the protein - RNA and protein - protein interactions evolved, the p53 trans-activation domain progressed to become integrated into a range of cellular pathways. We discuss how a single synonymous mutation in the BOX-1, the p53(L22 L), observed in a chronic lymphocyte leukaemia patient, prevents the activation of p53 following DNA damage. The concepts analysed and discussed in this review may serve as a conceptual mechanistic paradigm of the co-evolution and function of molecules having roles in cellular regulation, or the aetiology of genetic diseases and how synonymous mutations can affect the encoded protein.
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