MCL1 binds and negatively regulates the transcriptional function of tumor suppressor p73

Academic Article


  • MCL1, an anti-apoptotic protein that controls chemosensitivity and cell fate through its regulation of intrinsic apoptosis, has been identified as a high-impact target in anti-cancer therapeutic development. With MCL1-specific inhibitors currently in clinical trials, it is imperative that we understand the roles that MCL1 plays in cells, especially when targeting the Bcl-2 homology 3 (BH3) pocket, the central region of MCL1 that mediates apoptotic regulation. Here, we establish that MCL1 has a direct role in controlling p73 transcriptional activity, which modulates target genes associated with DNA damage response, apoptosis, and cell cycle progression. This interaction is mediated through the reverse BH3 (rBH3) motif in the p73 tetramerization domain, which restricts p73 assembly on DNA. Here, we provide a novel mechanism for protein-level regulation of p73 transcriptional activity by MCL1, while also framing a foundation for studying MCL1 inhibitors in combination with platinum-based chemotherapeutics. More broadly, this work expands the role of Bcl-2 family signaling beyond cell fate regulation.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Widden H; Kaczmarczyk A; Subedi A; Whitaker RH; Placzek WJ
  • Volume

  • 11
  • Issue

  • 11