P53, P63, and P73 proteins belong to the P53 family of transcription factors, sharing a common gene organization that, from the P1 and P2 promoters, produces two groups of mRNAs encoding proteins with different N-terminal regions; moreover, alternative splicing events at Cterminus further contribute to the generation of multiple isoforms. P53 family proteins can influence a plethora of cellular pathways mainly through the direct binding to specific DNA sequences known as response elements (REs), and the transactivation of the corresponding target genes. However, the transcriptional activation by P53 family members can be regulated at multiple levels, including the DNA topology at responsive promoters. Here, by using a yeast-based functional assay, we evaluated the influence that a G-quadruplex (G4) prone sequence adjacent to the p53 RE derived from the apoptotic PUMA target gene can exert on the transactivation potential of full-length and Nterminal truncated P53 family α isoforms (wild-type and mutant). Our results show that the presence of a G4 prone sequence upstream or downstream of the P53 RE leads to significant changes in the relative activity of P53 family proteins, emphasizing the potential role of structural DNA features as modifiers of P53 family functions at target promoter sites.
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