The Hdmx gene product is related to the Hdm2 oncoprotein, both of which interact with and regulate p53 stability and function. Like Hdm2, Hdmx is able to inhibit p53 transactivation; however, at variance with Hdm2, which promotes ubiquitination, nuclear export, and degradation of p53, Hdmx increases p53 stability. We report here (i) that overexpressed Hdmx is cytoplasmic and Hdm2 recruits Hdmx into the nucleus and (ii) that nuclear Hdmx blocks Hdm2-mediated nuclear export of p53 and down-regulates p53-dependent transcription. Furthermore we showed that Hdmx inhibits Hdm2-mediated p53 ubiquitination. It appears, therefore, that a regulatory loop exists in which Hdm2 regulates the intracellular localization of Hdmx, and nuclear Hdmx regulates several functions of Hdm2 (ubiquitin ligase activity and p53 nuclear export).
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