Repression of Human Reduced Folate Carrier Gene Expression by Wild Type p53

Bee Ching Ding, Johnathan R. Whetstine, Teah L. Witt, John D. Schuetz, Larry H. Matherly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


The relationship between loss of functional p53 and human reduced folate carrier (hRFC) levels and function was examined in REH lymphoblastic leukemia cells, which express wild type p53, and in p53-null K562 cells (K562 pTet-on/p53) engineered to express wild type p53 under control of a tetracycline-inducible promoter. Activation of p53 in REH cells by treatment with daunorubicin was accompanied by decreased (∼5-fold) levels of hRFC transcripts and methotrexate transport. Treatment of K562pTet-on/p53 cells with doxycycline resulted in a dose-dependent expression of p53 protein and transcripts, increased p21 protein, decreased dihydrofolate reductase, and G1 arrest with decreased numbers of cells in S-phase. p53 induction was accompanied by up to 3-fold decreases in hRFC transcripts transcribed from the upstream hRFC-B promoter and similar losses of hRFC protein and methotrexate uptake capacity. Expression of p15 in an analogous inducible system in K562 cells resulted in a nearly identical decrease of S-phase cells and dihydrofolate reductase without effects on hRFC levels or activity. When the hRFC-B promoter was expressed as full-length and basal promoter-luciferase reporter constructs in K562pTet-on/p53 cells, induction of p53 with doxycycline resulted in a 3-fold loss of promoter activity, which was reversed by cotransfection with a trans-dominant-negative p53. These studies show that wild type p53 acts as a repressor of hRFC gene expression, via a mechanism that is independent of its effects on cell cycle progression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8713-8719
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number12
StatePublished - Mar 23 2001
Externally publishedYes


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