Reactivating the ARF-p53 axis in AML cells: By targeting ULF

Delin Chen, Jong Bok Yoon, Wei Gu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


The tumor suppressor ARF plays an essential role in the cellular response to oncogenic stress mainly through activation of p53. Nucleophosmin (NPM), a multifunctional protein, forms a stable protein complex with ARF in the nucleolus and protects ARF from the proteasome-mediated degradation. Notably, NPM is mutated in about one third of acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) patients and these mutations lead to aberrant cytoplasmic dislocation of nucleophosmin (NPM-c). Cytoplasmic NPM mutants lose their abilities to retain ARF in the nucleolus and fail to stabilize ARF. Thus, activation of the ARF-p53 axis is significantly compromised in these AML cells. We have recently identified the ubiquitin ligase of ARF (ULF) as a key factor that controls ARF turnover in human cells. Here, we found that the steady levels of both ARF and p53 are very low in human acute myeloid leukaemia OCI-AML3 cells expressing cytoplamsic dislocated nucleophosmin (NPM-c). As expected, ARF is very unstable and rapidly degraded by proteasome. Nevertheless, ULF knockdown stabilizes ARF and reactivates p53 responses in these AML cells. These results further demonstrate that ULF is a bona fide E3 ligase for ARF and also suggest that ULF is an important target for activating the ARF-p53 axis in human AML cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3018-3023
Number of pages6
JournalCell Cycle
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Aug 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank James Lee for carefully reading the manuscript and B. Falini for providing the human AML cell lines. This study was supported by grants from NIH and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. W.G. is an Ellison Medical Foundation Senior Scholar in aging.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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