Despite the inarguable relevance of p53 in cancer, genome-wide studies relating endogenous p53 activity to the expression of lncRNAs in human cells are still missing. Here, by integrating RNA-seq with p53 ChIP-seq analyses of a human cancer cell line under DNA damage, researchers from the Universidad de Navarra, Spain define a high-confidence set of 18 lncRNAs that are p53 transcriptional targets. The researchers demonstrate that two of the p53-regulated lncRNAs are required for the efficient binding of p53 to some of its target genes, modulating the p53 transcriptional network and contributing to apoptosis induction by DNA damage. They also show that the expression of p53-lncRNAs is lowered in colorectal cancer samples, constituting a tumour suppressor signature with high diagnostic power. Thus, p53-regulated lncRNAs establish a positive regulatory feedback loop that enhances p53 tumour suppressor activity. Furthermore, the signature defined by p53-regulated lncRNAs supports their potential use in the clinic as biomarkers and therapeutic targets.
- Sánchez Y, Segura V, Marín-Béjar O, Athie A, Marchese FP, González J, Bujanda L, Guo S, Matheu A, Huarte M. (2014) Genome-wide analysis of the human p53 transcriptional network unveils a lncRNA tumour suppressor signature. Nat Commun 5:5812. [article]