Rachel Beckerman

Columbia University, New York City, New York, United States

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Publications (9)67.34 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: p53 is a tumor suppressor protein that acts as a transcription factor to regulate (either positively or negatively) a plethora of downstream target genes. Although its ability to induce protein coding genes is well documented, recent studies have implicated p53 in the regulation of non-coding RNAs, including both microRNAs (e.g. miR-34a) and long non-coding RNAs (e.g. lincRNA-p21). We have identified the non-protein coding locus PVT1 as a p53-inducible target gene. PVT1, a very large (>300 kb) locus located downstream of c-myc on chromosome 8q24, produces a wide variety of spliced non-coding RNAs as well as a cluster of six annotated microRNAs: miR-1204, miR-1205, miR-1206, miR-1207-5p, miR-1207-3p, and miR-1208. Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP), electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA), and luciferase assays reveal that p53 binds and activates a canonical response element within the vicinity of miR-1204. Consistently, we demonstrate the p53-dependent induction of endogenous PVT1 transcripts and consequent up-regulation of mature miR-1204. Finally, we have shown that ectopic expression of miR-1204 leads to increased p53 levels and causes cell death in a partially p53-dependent manner.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 11/2011; 287(4):2509-19. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Motif discovery is now routinely used in high-throughput studies including large-scale sequencing and proteomics. These datasets present new challenges. The first is speed. Many motif discovery methods do not scale well to large datasets. Another issue is identifying discriminative rather than generative motifs. Such discriminative motifs are important for identifying co-factors and for explaining changes in behavior between different conditions. To address these issues we developed a method for DECOnvolved Discriminative motif discovery (DECOD). DECOD uses a k-mer count table and so its running time is independent of the size of the input set. By deconvolving the k-mers DECOD considers context information without using the sequences directly. DECOD outperforms previous methods both in speed and in accuracy when using simulated and real biological benchmark data. We performed new binding experiments for p53 mutants and used DECOD to identify p53 co-factors, suggesting new mechanisms for p53 activation. The source code and binaries for DECOD are available at http://www.sb.cs.cmu.edu/DECOD CONTACT: zivbj@cs.cmu.edu Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.
    Bioinformatics 09/2011; 27(17):2361-7. · 5.47 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: It is well established that p53 contacts DNA in a sequence-dependent manner in order to transactivate its myriad target genes. Yet little is known about how p53 interacts with its binding site/response element (RE) within such genes in vivo in the context of nucleosomal DNA. In this study we demonstrate that both distal (5') and proximal (3') p53 REs within the promoter of the p21 gene in unstressed HCT116 colon carcinoma cells are localized within a region of relatively high nucleosome occupancy. In the absence of cellular stress, p53 is prebound to both p21 REs within nucleosomal DNA in these cells. Treatment of cells with the DNA-damaging drug doxorubicin or the p53 stabilizing agent Nutlin-3, however, is accompanied by p53-dependent subsequent loss of nucleosomes associated with such p53 REs. We show that in vitro p53 can bind to mononucleosomal DNA containing the distal p21 RE, provided the binding site is not close to the diad center of the nucleosome. In line with this, our data indicate that the p53 distal RE within the p21 gene is located close to the end of the nucleosome. Thus, low- and high-resolution mapping of nucleosome boundaries around p53 REs within the p21 promoter have provided insight into the mechanism of p53 binding to its sites in cells and the consequent changes in nucleosome occupancy at such sites.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 05/2011; 108(26):10385-90. · 9.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The p53 tumor suppressor interacts with its negative regulator Mdm2 via the former's N-terminal region and core domain, yet the extreme p53 C-terminal region contains lysine residues ubiquitinated by Mdm2 and can bear post-translational modifications that inhibit Mdm2-p53 association. We show that the Mdm2-p53 interaction is decreased upon deletion, mutation or acetylation of the p53 C terminus. Mdm2 decreases the association of full-length but not C-terminally deleted p53 with a DNA target sequence in vitro and in cells. Further, using multiple approaches, we show that a peptide from the p53 C terminus directly binds the Mdm2 N terminus in vitro. We also show that p300-acetylated p53 inefficiently binds Mdm2 in vitro, and Nutlin-3 treatment induces C-terminal modification(s) of p53 in cells, explaining the low efficiency of Nutlin-3 in dissociating p53-MDM2 in vitro.
    Nature Structural & Molecular Biology 04/2011; 18(4):516. · 11.90 Impact Factor
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    Rachel Beckerman, Carol Prives
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    ABSTRACT: Inactivation of p53 is critical for the formation of most tumors. Illumination of the key function(s) of p53 protein in protecting cells from becoming cancerous is therefore a worthy goal. Arguably p53's most important function is to act as a transcription factor that directly regulates perhaps several hundred of the cell's RNA polymerase II (RNAP II)-transcribed genes, and indirectly regulates thousands of others. Indeed p53 is the most well studied mammalian transcription factor. The p53 tetramer binds to its response element where it can recruit diverse transcriptional coregulators such as histone modifying enzymes, chromatin remodeling factors, subunits of the mediator complex, and components of general transcription machinery and preinitiation complex (PIC) to modulate RNAPII activity at target loci (Laptenko and Prives 2006). The p53 transcriptional program is regulated in a stimulus-specific fashion (Murray-Zmijewski et al. 2008; Vousden and Prives 2009), whereby distinct subsets of p53 target genes are induced in response to different p53-activating agents, likely allowing cells to tailor their response to different types of stress. How p53 is able to discriminate between these different loci is the subject of intense research. Here, we describe key aspects of the fundamentals of p53-mediated transcriptional regulation and target gene promoter selectivity.
    Cold Spring Harbor perspectives in biology 08/2010; 2(8):a000935. · 9.63 Impact Factor
  • Ejc Supplements - EJC SUPPL. 01/2010; 8(5):161-161.
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    ABSTRACT: We reported previously that when cells are arrested in S phase, a subset of p53 target genes fails to be strongly induced despite the presence of high levels of p53. When DNA replication is inhibited, reduced p21 mRNA accumulation is correlated with a marked reduction in transcription elongation. Here we show that ablation of the protein kinase Chk1 rescues the p21 transcription elongation defect when cells are blocked in S phase, as measured by increases in both p21 mRNA levels and the presence of the elongating form of RNA polymerase II (RNAPII) toward the 3' end of the p21 gene. Recruitment of specific elongation and 3' processing factors (DSIF, CstF-64, and CPSF-100) is also restored. While additional components of the RNAPII transcriptional machinery, such as TFIIB and CDK7, are recruited more extensively to the p21 locus after DNA damage than after replication stress, their recruitment is not enhanced by ablation of Chk1. Significantly, ablating Chk2, a kinase closely related in substrate specificity to Chk1, does not rescue p21 mRNA levels during S-phase arrest. Thus, Chk1 has a direct and selective role in the elongation block to p21 observed during S-phase arrest. These findings demonstrate for the first time a link between the replication checkpoint mediated by ATR/Chk1 and the transcription elongation/3' processing machinery.
    Genes & development 07/2009; 23(11):1364-77. · 12.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Both sequence-specific DNA binding and exonuclease activities have been mapped to the central conserved core domain of p53. To gain more information about these two activities a series of mutants were generated that changed core domain histidine residues. Of these mutants, only one, H115N p53, showed markedly reduced exonuclease activity (ca. 15% of wild-type). Surprisingly, purified H115N p53 protein was found to be significantly more potent than wild-type p53 in binding to DNA by several criteria including gel mobility shift assay, filter binding and DNase I footprinting. Interestingly as well, non-specific DNA binding by the core domain of H115N p53 is superior to that of wild-type p53. To study H115N p53 in vivo, clones of H1299 cells expressing tetracycline regulated wild-type or H115N p53 were generated. H115N was both more potent than wild-type p53 in inducing p53 target genes such as p21 and PIG3 and was also more effective in arresting cells in G1. Unexpectedly, in contrast to wild-type p53, H115N p53 was markedly impaired in causing apoptosis when cells were subjected to DNA damage. Our results indicate that the exonuclease activity and transcriptional activation functions of p53 can be separated. They also extend previous findings showing that cell cycle arrest and apoptosis are separable functions of p53. Finally, these experiments confirm that DNA binding and xonuclease activities are distinct features of the p53 core domain.
    Cell cycle (Georgetown, Tex.) 06/2009; 8(10):1603-15. · 5.24 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The p53 tumor suppressor is a nucleocytoplasmic shuttling protein that is found predominantly in the nucleus of cells. In addition to mutation, abnormal p53 cellular localization is one of the mechanisms that inactivate p53 function. To further understand features of p53 that contribute to the regulation of its trafficking within the cell, we analysed the subnuclear localization of wild-type and mutant p53 in human cells that were either permeabilized with detergent or treated with the proteasome inhibitor MG132. We, here, show that either endogenously expressed or exogenously added p53 protein localizes to the nucleolus in detergent-permeabilized cells in a concentration- and ATP hydrolysis-dependent manner. Two discrete regions within the carboxyl terminus of p53 are essential for nucleolar localization in permeabilized cells. Similarly, localization of p53 to the nucleolus after proteasome inhibition in unpermeabilized cells requires sequences within the carboxyl terminus of p53. Interestingly, genotoxic stress markedly decreases the association of p53 with the nucleolus, and phosphorylation of p53 at S392, a site that is modified by such stress, partially impairs its nucleolar localization. The possible significance of these findings is discussed.
    Oncogene 06/2007; 26(26):3878-91. · 8.56 Impact Factor