A cytosolic mutp53(E285K) variant confers chemoresistance of malignant melanoma

Publikation: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftForschungsartikelBeigetragenBegutachtung



Malignant melanoma (MM) is known to be intrinsically chemoresistant, even though only ~20% of MM carry mutations of the tumor suppressor p53. Despite improvement of systemic therapy the mortality rate of patients suffering from metastatic MM is still ~70%, highlighting the need for alternative treatment options or for the re-establishment of conventional therapeutic approaches, including chemotherapy. Screening the p53 mutation status in a cohort of 19 patient-derived melanoma samples, we identified one rarely described missense mutation of p53 leading to E285K amino acid exchange (mutp53(E285K)). Employing structural and computational analysis we revealed a major role of E285 residue in maintaining stable conformation of wild-type p53 (wtp53). E285K mutation was predicted to cause interruption of a salt-bridge network affecting the conformation of the C-terminal helix of the DNA-binding domain (DBD) thereby preventing DNA interaction. In this context, a cluster of frequently mutated amino acid residues in cancer was identified to putatively lead to similar structural effects as E285K substitution (E285 cluster). Functional analysis, including knockdown of endogenous p53 and reconstitution with diverse p53 missense mutants confirmed mutp53(E285K) to have lost transcriptional activity, to be localized in the cytosol of cancer cells, by both means conferring chemoresistance. Re-sensitization to cisplatin-induced cell death was achieved using clinically approved compounds aiming to restore p53 wild-type function (PRIMA1-Met), or inhibition of AKT-driven MAPK survival pathways (afuresertib), in both cases being partially due to ferroptosis induction. Consequently, active ferroptosis induction using the GPX4 inhibitor RSL3 proved superior in tumorselectively fighting MM cells. Due to high prevalence of the E285-cluster mutations in MM as well as in a variety of other tumor types, we conclude this cluster to serve an important function in tumor development and therapy and suggest new implications for ferroptosis induction in therapeutic applications fighting MM in particular and cancer in general.


FachzeitschriftCell Death and Disease
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 14 Dez. 2023

Externe IDs

PubMedCentral PMC10721616
Scopus 85179694187
ORCID /0000-0001-6874-0548/work/151980613


Ziele für nachhaltige Entwicklung


  • Humans, Tumor Suppressor Protein p53/metabolism, Melanoma/drug therapy, Drug Resistance, Neoplasm/genetics, Cytosol/metabolism, Mutation, Skin Neoplasms, DNA, Amino Acids, Cell Line, Tumor