Mycophenolic acid activation of p53 requires ribosomal proteins L5 and L11

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Mycophenolate mofetil (MMF), a prodrug of mycophenolic acid (MPA), is widely used as an immunosuppressive agent. MPA selectively inhibits inosine monophosphate dehydrogenase (IMPDH), a rate-limiting enzyme for the de novo synthesis of guanine nucleotides, leading to depletion of the guanine nucleotide pool. Its chemotherapeutic effects have been attributed to its ability to induce cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. MPA treatment has also been shown to induce and activate p53. However, the mechanism underlying the p53 activation pathway is still unclear. Here, we show that MPA treatment results in inhibition of pre-rRNA synthesis and disruption of the nucleolus. This treatment enhances the interaction of MDM2 with L5 and L11. Interestingly, knockdown of endogenous L5 or L11 markedly impairs the induction of p53 and G1 cell cycle arrest induced by MPA. These results suggest that MPA may trigger a nucleolar stress that induces p53 activation via inhibition of MDM2 by ribosomal proteins L5 and L11.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12387-12392
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number18
StatePublished - May 2 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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