Polycomb group protein PHF1 regulates p53-dependent cell growth arrest and apoptosis

Yang Yang, Chenji Wang, Pingzhao Zhang, Kun Gao, Dejie Wang, Hongxiu Yu, Ting Zhang, Sirui Jiang, Saiyin Hexige, Zehui Hong, Akira Yasui, Jun O. Liu, Haojie Huang, Long Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Polycomb group protein PHF1 is well known as a component of a novel EED-EZH2·Polycomb repressive complex 2 complex and plays important roles in H3K27 methylation and Hox gene silencing. PHF1 is also involved in the response to DNA double-strand breaks in human cells, promotes nonhomologous endjoining processes through interaction with Ku70/Ku80. Here, we identified another function of PHF1 as a potential p53 pathway activator in a pathway screen using luminescence reporter assay. Subsequent studies showed PHF1 directly interacts with p53 proteins both in vivo and in vitro and co-localized in nucleus. PHF1 binds to the C-terminal regulatory domain of p53. Overexpression of PHF1 elevated p53 protein level and prolonged its turnover. Knockdown of PHF1 reduced p53 protein level and its target gene expression both in normal state and DNA damage response. Mechanically, PHF1 protects p53 proteins from MDM2-mediated ubiquitination and degradation. Furthermore, we showed that PHF1 regulates cell growth arrest and etoposide-induced apoptosis in a p53-dependent manner. Finally, PHF1 expression was significantly down-regulated in human breast cancer samples. Taken together, we establish PHF1 as a novel positive regulator of the p53 pathway. These data shed light on the potential roles of PHF1 in tumorigenesis and/or tumor progression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)529-539
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 4 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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