Constitutive p53 heightens mitochondrial apoptotic priming and favors cell death induction by BH3 mimetic inhibitors of BCL-xL.

Abstract : Proapoptotic molecules directly targeting the BCL-2 family network are promising anticancer therapeutics, but an understanding of the cellular stress signals that render them effective is still elusive. We show here that the tumor suppressor p53, at least in part by transcription independent mechanisms, contributes to cell death induction and full activation of BAX by BH3 mimetic inhibitors of BCL-xL. In addition to mildly facilitating the ability of compounds to derepress BAX from BCL-xL, p53 also provides a death signal downstream of anti-apoptotic proteins inhibition. This death signal cooperates with BH3-induced activation of BAX and it is independent from PUMA, as enhanced p53 can substitute for PUMA to promote BAX activation in response to BH3 mimetics. The acute sensitivity of mitochondrial priming to p53 revealed here is likely to be critical for the clinical use of BH3 mimetics.
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J Le Pen, Mario Laurent, Kristopher Sarosiek, Céline Vuillier, Fabien Gautier, et al.. Constitutive p53 heightens mitochondrial apoptotic priming and favors cell death induction by BH3 mimetic inhibitors of BCL-xL.. Cell Death and Disease , Nature Publishing Group, 2016, 7, pp.e2083. ⟨10.1038/cddis.2015.400⟩. ⟨inserm-01333971⟩

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