Nitration of the tumor suppressor protein p53 at tyrosine 327 promotes p53 oligomerization and activation
Nitric Oxide Donors
Tumor Suppressor Protein p53
Previous studies demonstrate that nitric oxide (NO) promotes p53 transcriptional activity by a classical DNA damage responsive mechanism involving activation of ATM/ATR and phosphorylation of p53. These studies intentionally used high doses of NO donors to achieve the maximum DNA damage. However, lower concentrations of NO donors also stimulate rapid and unequivocal nuclear retention of p53 but apparently do not require ATM/ATR-dependent p53 phosphorylation or total p53 protein accumulation. To identify possible mechanisms for p53 activation at low NO levels, the role of Tyr nitration in p53 activation was evaluated. Low concentrations of the NO donor, DETA NONOate (<200 microM), exclusively nitrate Tyr327 within the tetramerization domain promoting p53 oligomerization, nuclear accumulation, and increased DNA-binding activity without p53 Ser15 phosphorylation. Molecular modeling indicates that nitration of one Tyr327 stabilizes the dimer by about 2.67 kcal mol(-1). Significant quantitative and qualitative differences in the patterns of p53-target gene modulation by low (50 microM), non-DNA-damaging and high (500 microM), DNA-damaging NO donor concentrations were shown. These results demonstrate a new posttranslational mechanism for modulating p53 transcriptional activity responsive to low NO concentrations and independent of DNA damage signaling.