Mutant p53 inhibits miRNA biogenesis by interfering with the microprocessor complex

F. Garibaldi, E. Falcone, D. Trisciuoglio, T. Colombo, K. Lisek, D. Walerych, G. Del Sal, P. Paci, G. Bossi, G. Piaggio, A. Gurtner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Downregulation of microRNAs (miRNAs) is commonly observed in cancers and promotes tumorigenesis suggesting that miRNAs may function as tumor suppressors. However, the mechanism through which miRNAs are regulated in cancer, and the connection between oncogenes and miRNA biogenesis remain poorly understood. The TP53 tumor-suppressor gene is mutated in half of human cancers resulting in an oncogene with gain-of-function activities. Here we demonstrate that mutant p53 (mutp53) oncoproteins modulate the biogenesis of a subset of miRNAs in cancer cells inhibiting their post-transcriptional maturation. Interestingly, among these miRNAs several are also downregulated in human tumors. By confocal, co-immunoprecipitation and RNA-chromatin immunoprecipitation experiments, we show that endogenous mutp53 binds and sequesters RNA helicases p72/82 from the microprocessor complex, interfering with Drosha-pri-miRNAs association. In agreement with this, the overexpression of p72 leads to an increase of mature miRNAs levels. Moreover, functional experiments demonstrate the oncosuppressive role of mutp53-dependent miRNAs (miR-517a, −519a, −218, −105). Our study highlights a previously undescribed mechanism by which mutp53 interferes with Drosha-p72/82 association leading, at least in part, to miRNA deregulation observed in cancer.Oncogene advance online publication, 21 March 2016; doi:10.1038/onc.2016.51.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Mar 21 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cancer Research
  • Genetics


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