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Codon 104 variation of p53 gene provides adaptive apoptotic responses to extreme environments in mammals of the Tibet plateau

Zhao, Yang, Ren, Ji-Long, Wang, Ming-Yang, Zhang, Sheng-Ting, Liu, Yu, Li, Min, Cao, Yi-Bin, Zu, Hu-Yue, Chen, Xiao-Cheng, Wu, Chung-I, Nevo, Eviatar, Chen, Xue-Qun, Du, Ji-Zeng
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2013 v.110 no.51 pp. 20639-20644
Microtus oeconomus, apoptosis, carcinogenesis, cell cycle, cold, evolutionary adaptation, genes, human cell lines, humans, hypercapnia, hypoxia, rodents, serine, transcriptional activation, China
Mutational changes in p53 correlate well with tumorigenesis. Remarkably, however, relatively little is known about the role that p53 variations may play in environmental adaptation. Here we report that codon asparagine-104 (104N) and glutamic acid-104 (104E), respectively, of the p53 gene in the wild zokor (Myospalax baileyi) and root vole (Microtus oeconomus) are adaptively variable, meeting the environmental stresses of the Tibetan plateau. They differ from serine-104 (104S) seen in other rodents, including the lowland subterranean zokor Myospalax cansus , and from serine 106 (106S) in humans. Based on site-directed mutational analysis in human cell lines, the codon 104N variation in M . baileyi is responsible for the adaptive balance of the transactivation of apoptotic genes under hypoxia, cold, and acidic stresses. The 104E p53 variant in Microtus oeconomus suppresses apoptotic gene transactivation and cell apoptosis. Neither 104N nor 104E affects the cell-cycle genes. We propose that these variations in p53 codon 104 are an outcome of environmental adaptation and evolutionary selection that enhance cellular strategies for surviving the environmental stresses of hypoxia and cold (in M . baileyi and M. oeconomus) and hypercapnia (in M . baileyi) in the stressful environments of the Qinghai-Tibet plateau.