The oncogenicity of tumor-derived mutant p53 is enhanced by the recruitment of PLK3

Catherine A. Vaughan, Shilpa Singh, Mark A. Subler, Jolene J. Windle, Kazushi Inoue, Elizabeth A. Fry, Raghavendra Pillappa, Steven R. Grossman, Brad Windle, W. Andrew Yeudall, Swati Palit Deb, Sumitra Deb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


p53 mutations with single amino acid changes in cancer often lead to dominant oncogenic changes. Here, we have developed a mouse model of gain-of-function (GOF) p53-driven lung cancer utilizing conditionally active LSL p53-R172H and LSL K-Ras-G12D knock-in alleles that can be activated by Cre in lung club cells. Mutation of the p53 transactivation domain (TAD) (p53-L25Q/W26S/R172H) eliminating significant transactivation activity resulted in loss of tumorigenicity, demonstrating that transactivation mediated by or dependent on TAD is required for oncogenicity by GOF p53. GOF p53 TAD mutations significantly reduce phosphorylation of nearby p53 serine 20 (S20), which is a target for PLK3 phosphorylation. Knocking out PLK3 attenuated S20 phosphorylation along with transactivation and oncogenicity by GOF p53, indicating that GOF p53 exploits PLK3 to trigger its transactivation capability and exert oncogenic functions. Our data show a mechanistic involvement of PLK3 in mutant p53 pathway of oncogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number704
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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