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Targeting Zfp148 activates p53 and reduces tumor initiation in the gut

Journal article
Authors Anna Nilton
Volkan I. Sayin
Zhiyuan V. Zou
Sama I. Sayin
Cecilia Bondjers
Nadia Gul
Pia Ågren
Per Fogelstrand
Ola Nilsson
Martin O. Bergo
Per Lindahl
Published in OncoTarget
Volume 7
Issue 35
Pages 56183-56192
ISSN 1949-2553
Publication year 2016
Published at Wallenberg Laboratory
Sahlgrenska Cancer Center
Institute of Biomedicine, Department of Pathology
Institute of Biomedicine
Institute of Biomedicine, Department of Medical Biochemistry and Cell Biology
Institute of Medicine, Department of Molecular and Clinical Medicine
Pages 56183-56192
Language en
Keywords Apoptosis, Intestinal tumors, Tumor suppressor p53
Subject categories Immunology in the medical area, Cell and Molecular Biology


The transcription factor Zinc finger protein 148 (Zfp148, ZBP-89, BFCOL, BERF1, htβ) interacts physically with the tumor suppressor p53, but the significance of this interaction is not known. We recently showed that knockout of Zfp148 in mice leads to ectopic activation of p53 in some tissues and cultured fibroblasts, suggesting that Zfp148 represses p53 activity. Here we hypothesize that targeting Zfp148 would unleash p53 activity and protect against cancer development, and test this idea in the APCMin/+ mouse model of intestinal adenomas. Loss of one copy of Zfp148 markedly reduced tumor numbers and tumor-associated intestinal bleedings, and improved survival. Furthermore, after activation of β-catenin-the initiating event in colorectal cancer-Zfp148 deficiency activated p53 and induced apoptosis in intestinal explants of APCMin/+ mice. The anti-tumor effect of targeting Zfp148 depended on p53, as Zfp148 deficiency did not affect tumor numbers in APCMin/+ mice lacking one or both copies of Trp53. The results suggest that Zfp148 controls the fate of newly transformed intestinal tumor cells by repressing p53 and that targeting Zfp148 might be useful in the treatment of colorectal cancer.

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