Research Papers:

Extracellular p53 fragment re-enters K-Ras mutated cells through the caveolin-1 dependent early endosomal system

Sun-Hye Lee _, Tae-Gyun Woo, Su-Jin Lee, Nam-Chul Ha and Bum-Joon Park

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Oncotarget. 2013; 4:2523-2531. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.1550

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Sun-Hye Lee1, Tae-Gyun Woo1, Su-Jin Lee1, Jin-Sik Kim2, Nam-Chul Ha2, Bum-Joon Park1

1 Department of Molecular Biology, College of Natural Science, Pusan National University, Busan, Korea (Republic of)

2 Department of pharmaco-engineering, College of Pharmacy, Pusan National University, Busan, Korea (Republic of)


Bum-Joon Park, email:

Keywords: p53 core domain; Oncogenic K-Ras; Caveolin-1; Drug delivery

Received: October 29, 2013 Accepted: December 1, 2013 Published: December 2, 2013


K-Ras mutation is detected in over 30% of human malignancies. In particular, 90% of human pancreatic cancers are initiated by K-Ras mutation. Thus, selective elimination of K-Ras mutated cells would be a plausible strategy to prevent or cure the malignancies. In our previous reports, it has been revealed that oncogenic K-Ras promotes the exocytosis of p53 with Snail. In this study, we have followed the final destination of extracellular p53, which is secreted by the Snail complex. Here we provide evidences that p53, exported from K-Ras-mutated cells, is specifically re-endocytosed by oncogenic K-Ras-containing cancer cells. The p53 DNA-binding domain directly associates with caveolin-1 and enters K-Ras mutated cells through early endosome-mediated endocytosis. Using a serial deletion approach, we revealed that a fragment of human p53 extending from 93-143 amino acids (AA) is responsible for binding with caveolin-1 and for endocytosis. In contrast, p53-Snail binding occurs at the 143-193 aa region. Finally, through in vivo study, we confirmed that injected recombinant p53 could be up-taken by tumor tissues, constructed by oncogenic K-Ras transformed MEF cells. In contrast, the tumors formed by H-Ras mutated MEF cells did not accumulate the injected p53 protein. These results indicate that the p53 fragment might be useful as a specific delivery tool into K- Ras mutated cells as well as a diagnostic method.

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