Activation of p53 function in carcinoma cells by the alpha6beta4 integrin

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Cancer Biology

Publication Date


Document Type



Antigens, Surface; Apoptosis; Breast Neoplasms; Colonic Neoplasms; Humans; Integrin alpha6beta4; Integrins; Tumor Cells, Cultured; Tumor Suppressor Protein p53


Cancer Biology | Neoplasms


The interaction of integrins with extracellular matrix is known to promote cell survival by inhibiting apoptotic signaling. In contrast, we demonstrate here that the alpha6beta4 integrin induces apoptosis in carcinoma cells by stimulating p53 function. Specifically, we show that expression of alpha6beta4 in carcinoma cells that lack this integrin stimulates an increase in the transactivating function of p53 as demonstrated by the ability of this integrin to up-regulate the expression of a p53-sensitive reporter gene as well as the endogenous p53 response gene, bax. In addition, we report that alpha6beta4 triggers apoptosis in carcinoma cells that express wild-type but not mutant p53 and that these alpha6beta4 functions are inhibited by a dominant negative p53 construct. Importantly, we provide a link between integrin signaling and p53 activation by demonstrating that the clustering of alpha6beta4 with a beta4 integrin-specific antibody promotes p53-dependent apoptosis in cells that express both alpha6beta4 and wild-type p53. These studies are the first to demonstrate that a specific integrin can promote apoptosis by activating p53. Moreover, given the ability of alpha6beta4 to stimulate invasion (Shaw, L. M., Rabinovitz, I., Wang, H. F., Toker, A., and Mercurio, A. M. (1997) Cell 91, 949-960), these studies suggest that the ability of alpha6beta4 to promote carcinoma progression will be enhanced in tumor cells that express mutant, inactive forms of p53.


J Biol Chem. 1999 Jul 16;274(29):20733-7.

Journal/Book/Conference Title

The Journal of biological chemistry

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PubMed ID