MDM2 is a ubiquitin ligase that plays a key role in regulating the stability of the p53 tumor suppressor protein. Several proteins have been shown to activate the p53 pathway by interacting with and inhibiting the E3 function of MDM2, thereby leading to an accumulation of p53. These include the alternate reading frame (ARF) proteins and the ribosomal proteins L5 and L11. We found that when overexpressed alone, L11 is much less potent in inhibiting MDM2 than p14ARF. However, L11 cooperates with L5, resulting in a robust inhibition of the E3 activity of MDM2, and a stabilization and activation of p53 approaching that achieved by p14ARF. We further showed that the ability of L11 to bind the 5S rRNA is important for the cooperation with L5, and a mutant L11, which cannot bind the 5S rRNA, cannot cooperate with L5 in inhibiting MDM2.
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We are grateful to Professor Dr Joachim Hauber for sending us a human L5 expression plasmid (p3L5) and anti-human L5 antibody. This work was funded by Cancer Research, UK.
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