Journal Article
. 2020 Feb; 39(17):3443-3457.
doi: 10.1038/s41388-020-1231-6.

Cancer-associated mutations in the ribosomal protein L5 gene dysregulate the HDM2/p53-mediated ribosome biogenesis checkpoint

Ines Oršolić 1 Slađana Bursać 1 Deana Jurada 1 Irena Drmić Hofman 2 Zlatko Dembić 3 Jiri Bartek 4 Ivana Mihalek 5 Siniša Volarević 6 
  • PMID: 32108164
  •     67 References


Perturbations in ribosome biogenesis have been associated with cancer. Such aberrations activate p53 through the RPL5/RPL11/5S rRNA complex-mediated inhibition of HDM2. Studies using animal models have suggested that this signaling pathway might constitute an important anticancer barrier. To gain a deeper insight into this issue in humans, here we analyze somatic mutations in RPL5 and RPL11 coding regions, reported in The Cancer Genome Atlas and International Cancer Genome Consortium databases. Using a combined computational and statistical approach, complemented by a range of biochemical and functional analyses in human cancer cell models, we demonstrate the existence of several mechanisms by which RPL5 mutations may impair wild-type p53 upregulation and ribosome biogenesis. Unexpectedly, the same approach provides only modest evidence for a similar role of RPL11, suggesting that RPL5 represents a preferred target during human tumorigenesis in cancers with wild-type p53. Furthermore, we find that several functional cancer-associated RPL5 somatic mutations occur as rare germline variants in general population. Our results shed light on the so-far enigmatic role of cancer-associated mutations in genes encoding ribosomal proteins, with implications for our understanding of the tumor suppressive role of the RPL5/RPL11/5S rRNA complex in human malignancies.

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