Selective functional inhibition of a tumor-derived p53 mutant by cytosolic chaperones identified using split-YFP in budding yeast

Ashley S. Denney, Andrew D. Weems, Michael A. McMurray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Life requires the oligomerization of individual proteins into higher-order assemblies. In order to form functional oligomers, monomers must adopt appropriate 3D structures. Molecular chaperones transiently bind nascent or misfolded proteins to promote proper folding. Single missense mutations frequently cause disease by perturbing folding despite chaperone engagement. A misfolded mutant capable of oligomerizing with wild-type proteins can dominantly poison oligomer function. We previously found evidence that human-disease-linked mutations in Saccharomyces cerevisiae septin proteins slow folding and attract chaperones, resulting in a kinetic delay in oligomerization that prevents the mutant from interfering with wild-type function. Here, we build upon our septin studies to develop a new approach for identifying chaperone interactions in living cells, and use it to expand our understanding of chaperone involvement, kinetic folding delays, and oligomerization in the recessive behavior of tumor-derived mutants of the tumor suppressor p53. We find evidence of increased binding of several cytosolic chaperones to a recessive, misfolding-prone mutant, p53(V272M). Similar to our septin results, chaperone overexpression inhibits the function of p53(V272M) with minimal effect on the wild type. Unlike mutant septins, p53(V272M) is not kinetically delayed under conditions in which it is functional. Instead, it interacts with wild-type p53 but this interaction is temperature sensitive. At high temperatures or upon chaperone overexpression, p53(V272M) is excluded from the nucleus and cannot function or perturb wild-type function. Hsp90 inhibition liberates mutant p53 to enter the nucleus. These findings provide new insights into the effects of missense mutations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberjkab230
JournalG3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2021


  • Bimolecular fluorescence complementation (BiFC)
  • Heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90)
  • Molecular chaperone
  • Mutant
  • P53
  • Protein folding
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae
  • Septin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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