Mutation of the tumor suppressor TP53 gene occurs in greater than half of all human cancers. In addition to loss of tumor suppressor function of wild-type TP53, gain-of-function mutations endow cancer cells with more malignant properties. R273 is a mutation hotspot with the p.R273H, p.R273C, and p.R273G variants occurring most commonly in patient samples. To better understand the consequences of these R273 mutations, we constructed cancer cell lines expressing TP53 p.R273H, p.R273C, or p.R273G and explored their characteristics. We found that p.R273H and p.R273C, but not p.R273G, enhanced proliferation, invasion, and drug resistance in vitro. Furthermore, breast cancer susceptibility protein 1 was upregulated by mutant TP53 p.R273H and p.R273C in response to DNA damage and repair. Transcriptional analysis of the TP53-R273 mutants by RNA-seq confirmed that the apoptosis pathway was less active in p.R273H and p.R273C, compared with R273G. Molecular dynamics simulation further revealed that TP53-R273G binds more tightly to DNA than TP53-R273H or TP53-R273C. These findings indicate that mutation of TP53 at a single codon has different effects, and likely clinical implications. p.R273H and p.R273C lead to a more aggressive phenotype than p.R273G. These findings may contribute to future diagnosis and therapy in TP53 mutant cancers.
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