MicroRNAs as Key Effectors in the p53 Network
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The guardian of the genome p53 is embedded in a fine-spun network of MicroRNAs. p53 is able to activate or repress directly the transcription of MicroRNAs that are participating in the tumor-suppressive mission of p53. On the other hand, the expression of p53 is under tight control of MicroRNAs that are either targeting directly p53 or factors that are modifying its protein level or activity. Although the most important function of p53 is suggested to be transcriptional regulation, there are several nontranscriptional functions described. One of those regards the modulation of MicroRNA biogenesis. Wild-type p53 is increasing the maturation of selected MicroRNAs from the primary transcript to the precursor MiRNA by interacting with the Microprocessor complex. Furthermore, p53 is modulating the mRNA accessibility for certain MicroRNAs by association with the RISC complex and transcriptional regulation of RNA-binding proteins. In this way p53 is able to remodel the MiRNA-mRNA interaction network. As wild-type p53 is employing MicroRNAs to suppress cancer development, gain-of-function mutant p53 proteins use MicroRNAs to confer oncogenic properties like chemoresistance and the ability to drive metastasis. Like its wild-type counterpart mutant p53 is able to regulate MicroRNAs transcriptionally and posttranscriptionally. Mutant p53 affects the MiRNA processing at two cleavage steps through interfering with the Microprocessor complex and by downregulating Dicer and KSRP, a modulator of MiRNA biogenesis. Thus, MicroRNAs are essential components in the p53 pathway, contributing substantially to combat or enhance tumor development depending on the wild-type or mutant p53 context.
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