The p53 tumour suppressor regulates the transcription initiation of selected genes by binding to specific DNA sequences at their promoters. Here we report a novel role of p53 in transcription elongation in human cells. Our data demonstrate that upon transcription elongation blockage, p53 is associated with genes that have not been reported as its direct targets. p53 could be co-immunoprecipitated with active forms of DNA-directed RNA polymerase II subunit 1 (RPB1), highlighting its association with the elongating RNA polymerase II. During a normal transcription cycle, p53 and RPB1 are localised at distinct regions of selected non-canonical p53 target genes and this pattern of localisation was changed upon blockage of transcription elongation. Additionally, transcription elongation blockage induced the proteasomal degradation of RPB1. Our results reveal a novel role of p53 in human cells during transcription elongation blockage that may facilitate the removal of RNA polymerase II from DNA.

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Journal Scientific Reports
Borsos, B.N. (Barbara N.), Huliák, I. (Ildikó), Majoros, H. (Hajnalka), Ujfaludi, Z. (Zsuzsanna), Gyenis, A. (Ákos), Pukler, P. (Peter), … Pankotai, T. (Tibor). (2017). Human p53 interacts with the elongating RNAPII complex and is required for the release of actinomycin D induced transcription blockage. Scientific Reports, 7. doi:10.1038/srep40960