Research ArticleCell Biology

p53 dynamics in response to DNA damage vary across cell lines and are shaped by efficiency of DNA repair and activity of the kinase ATM

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Science Signaling  25 Apr 2017:
Vol. 10, Issue 476, eaah6671
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.aah6671

Variations in p53 dynamics

A cell’s response to changes in its extracellular or intracellular environment (the path between signal and output) involves complex molecular networks. These networks are temporally dynamic, requiring investigators to consider multiple time points when analyzing pathway activity. Using single-cell imaging, Stewart-Ornstein and Lahav showed not only that DNA damage dynamically induced the tumor suppressor protein p53, which regulates cell cycle arrest and apoptosis, but also that those dynamics varied between cell lines, even of the same tissue type. The findings provide insight into the p53-mediated DNA damage response in multiple cell types. Because many other signaling pathways likely demonstrate this high degree of variability, the study also reveals that making generalized assumptions about cell signaling behavior based on a single cell line, or even one line for each tissue, is prone to error.

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