P53 centrosomal localization diagnoses ataxia-telangiectasia homozygotes and heterozygotes

Andrea Prodosmo, Andrea De Amicis, Cecilia Nisticò, Mario Gabriele, Giuliana Di Rocco, Laura Monteonofrio, Maria Piane, Enrico Cundari, Luciana Chessa, Silvia Soddu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ataxia-telangiectasia (A-T) is an autosomal recessive neurodegenerative disorder characterized by radiosensitivity, genomic instability, and predisposition to cancer. A-T is caused by biallelic mutations in the ataxia-telangiectasia mutated (ATM) gene, but heterozygous carriers, though apparently healthy, are believed to be at increased risk for cancer and more sensitive to ionizing radiation than the general population. Despite progress in functional and sequencing-based assays, no straightforward, rapid, and inexpensive test is available for the identification of A-T homozygotes and heterozygotes, which is essential for diagnosis, genetic counseling, and carrier prediction. The oncosuppressor p53 prevents genomic instability and centrosomal amplification. During mitosis, p53 localizes at the centrosome in an ATM-dependent manner. We capitalized on the latter finding and established a simple, fast, minimally invasive, reliable, and inexpensive test to determine mutant ATM zygosity. The percentage of mitotic lymphoblasts or PBMCs bearing p53 centrosomal localization clearly discriminated among healthy donors (>75%), A-T heterozygotes (40%-56%), and A-T homozygotes (

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1335-1342
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Clinical Investigation
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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