FEBS letters

The p53-inducible E3 ubiquitin ligase p53RFP induces p53-dependent apoptosis.

PMID 16427630


Recently, it has been shown that really interesting new gene (RING)-in between ring finger (IBR)-RING domain-containing proteins, such as Parkin and Parc, are E3 ubiquitin ligases and are involved in regulation of apoptosis. In this report, we show that p53-inducible RING-finger protein (p53RFP), a p53-inducible E3 ubiquitin ligase, induces p53-dependent but caspase-independent apoptosis. p53RFP contains an N-terminal RING-IBR-RING domain and an uncharacterized, evolutionally highly conserved C-terminal domain. p53RFP interacts with E2 ubiquitin-conjugating enzymes UbcH7 and UbcH8 but not with UbcH5, and this interaction is mediated through the RING-IBR-RING domain of p53RFP. Interestingly, the conserved C-terminal domain of p53RFP is required and sufficient for p53RFP-mediated apoptosis, suggesting p53RFP-mediated apoptosis does not require its E3 ubiquitin ligase activity. Together with a recent report showing that p53RFP is involved in ubiquitination and degradation of p21, a p53 downstream protein promoting growth arrest and antagonizing apoptosis, our findings suggest that p53RFP is involved in switching a cell from p53-mediated growth arrest to apoptosis.