August 19, 2021

Expression atlas for cell regulators

Vanderbilt researchers report a comprehensive tissue-specific atlas of protein and mRNA expression for p63 and p73, members of the p53 family signaling network that is the most frequent target of mutations in human cancers.

The proteins p63 and p73, members of the p53 family, regulate cell differentiation, proliferation and death. The p53 family signaling network is the most frequent target of mutations in human cancers. 

Analysis of p63 and p73 function has been challenging because multiple isoforms of each are expressed, and they can interact to regulate target genes. Jennifer Pietenpol, PhD, Clayton Marshall, PhD, Scott Beeler, MD, PhD, and colleagues now report in Cell Death & Disease a comprehensive tissue-specific atlas of p63 and p73 protein and mRNA expression patterns. 

The researchers analyzed 36 human tissues and quantified p63 and p73 isoform expression using GTEx (Genotype-Tissue Expression) project data. They found coordinate expression of p63 and p73 in basal cell populations of epithelial tissues, with the alpha isoforms predominant in nearly all tissues. They also identified a previously unreported p73 mRNA product. 

The findings support future investigations of p63 and p73 in concert since they are so often co-expressed, the authors note.

This research was supported by the National Institutes of Health (grants CA105436, CA070856, CA098131, CA068485, GM007347).