Nucleic acids research

Human single-nucleotide polymorphisms alter p53 sequence-specific binding at gene regulatory elements.

PMID 20817676


p53 coordinates the expression of an intricate network of genes in response to stress signals. Sequence-specific DNA binding is essential for p53-mediated tumor suppression. We evaluated the impact of single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in p53 response elements (p53RE) on DNA binding and gene expression in response to DNA damage. Using a bioinformatics approach based on incorporating p53 binding strength into a position weight matrix, we selected 32 SNPs in putative and validated p53REs. The microsphere assay for protein-DNA binding (MAPD) and allele-specific expression analysis was employed to assess the impact of SNPs on p53-DNA binding and gene expression, respectively. Comparing activated p53 binding in nuclear extracts from doxorubicin- or ionizing radiation (IR)-treated human cells, we observed little difference in binding profiles. Significant p53 binding was observed for most polymorphic REs and several displayed binding comparable to the p21 RE. SNP alleles predicted to lower p53 binding indeed reduced binding in 25 of the 32 sequences. Chromatin immunoprecipitation-sequencing in lymphoblastoid cells confirmed p53 binding to seven polymorphic p53 REs in response to doxorubicin. In addition, five polymorphisms were associated with altered gene expression following doxorubicin treatment. Our findings demonstrate an effective strategy to identify and evaluate SNPs that may alter p53-mediated stress responses.