Kramer D, Schön M, Bayerlová M, Bleckmann A, Schön MP, Zörnig M, Dobbelstein M
The p53 family and its cofactors are potent inducers of apoptosis and form a barrier to cancer. Here, we investigated the impact of the supposedly inhibitory member of the apoptosis-stimulating protein of p53, iASPP, on the activity of the p53 homolog TAp73, and its cofactors p300 and CBP. We found that iASPP interacted with and stabilized the histone acetyltransferase p300 and its homolog CBP upon cisplatin treatment. Vice versa, iASPP depletion by shRNA resulted in decreased amounts of p300 and CBP, impaired binding of p300 and TAp73 to target site promoters, reduced induction of pro-apoptotic TAp73 target genes, and impaired apoptosis. Mechanistically, we observed that the p300-regulatory E3 ubiquitin ligase BRMS1 could rescue the degradation of p300 and CBP in cisplatin-treated, iASPP-depleted cells. This argues that iASPP stabilizes p300 and CBP by interfering with their BRMS1-mediated ubiquitination, thereby contributing to apoptotic susceptibility. In line, iASPP overexpression partially abolished the interaction of BRMS1 and CBP upon DNA damage. Reduced levels of iASPP mRNA and protein as well as CBP protein were observed in human melanoma compared with normal skin tissue and benign melanocytic nevi. In line with our findings, iASPP overexpression or knockdown of BRMS1 each augmented p300/CBP levels in melanoma cell lines, thereby enhancing apoptosis upon DNA damage. Taken together, destabilization of p300/CBP by downregulation of iASPP expression levels appears to represent a molecular mechanism that contributes to chemoresistance in melanoma cells.