Functional quantification of DNA-binding proteins p53 and estrogen receptor in cells and tumor tissues by DNA affinity immunoblotting

Yuangang Liu, Harold Asch, Molly F. Kulesz-Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Functional assays of proteins can monitor the consequences of defects attributable to posttranslational activating or inhibitory events as well as to genetic mutations. Such assays promise to permit evaluation of cooperating oncogenic or tumor suppressor pathways in cells and tumors. As a step toward realizing this promise, we designed the DNA affinity immunoblotting (DAI) method to measure the activities of multiple sequence-specific DNA-binding proteins simultaneously [initially p53 and estrogen receptor (ER)] in lysates of cells or frozen tumor tissues. DAI is a novel application of biotin/streptavidin affinity chromatography and immunoblotting. The p53 and ER proteins in cell or tissue lysates were bound to biotinylated, specific DNA probes, retrieved using a streptavidin-conjugated matrix, and then quantified in parallel with total protein by immunoblotting. The assay results were reproducible and specifically correlated with the known functional status of p53 in mouse and human cells of known p53 genotype, including those with low levels of p53 protein. ER immunohistochemistry of human breast samples, which is highly correlated with functional status and prognosis in human breast cancer, was also highly correlated with DNA binding activity results by DAI. In contrast, the p53 protein in cells is frequently expressed but inactive, potentially accounting for the lack of strict correlation of p53 immunohistochemical or mutational status with tumor response to chemotherapy. DAI offers a new means of molecular profiling and monitoring of p53 and other DNA-binding protein activities in cells and tumors. DAI has applications in the detection and identification of covalently modified forms of DNA-binding proteins and in the identification of their interacting proteins in complex with DNA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5402-5406
Number of pages5
JournalCancer Research
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 15 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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