Molecular and cellular biology

The mdm-2 oncogene can overcome wild-type p53 suppression of transformed cell growth.

PMID 8417333


Expression of a p53-associated protein, Mdm-2 (murine double minute-2), can inhibit p53-mediated transactivation. In this study, overexpression of the Mdm-2 protein was found to result in the immortalization of primary rat embryo fibroblasts (REFs) and, in conjunction with an activated ras gene, in the transformation of REFs. The effect of wild-type p53 on the transforming properties of mdm-2 was determined by transfecting REFs with ras, mdm-2, and normal p53 genes. Transfection with ras plus mdm-2 plus wild-type p53 resulted in a 50% reduction in the number of transformed foci (relative to the level for ras plus mdm-2); however, more than half (9 of 17) of the cell lines derived from these foci expressed low levels of a murine p53 protein with the characteristics of a wild-type p53. These results are in contrast to previous studies which demonstrated that even minimal levels of wild-type p53 are not tolerated in cells transformed by ras plus myc, E1A, or mutant p53. The mdm-2 oncogene can overcome the previously demonstrated growth-suppressive properties of p53.