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JOURNAL

Cancer Informatics

Cluster Analysis of p53 Binding Site Sequences Reveals Subsets with Different Functions

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Cancer Informatics 2016:15 199-209

Original Research

Published on 25 Oct 2016

DOI: 10.4137/CIN.S39968


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Abstract

p53 is an important regulator of cell cycle arrest, senescence, apoptosis and metabolism, and is frequently mutated in tumors. It functions as a tetramer, where each component dimer binds to a decameric DNA region known as a response element. We identify p53 binding site subtypes and examine the functional and evolutionary properties of these subtypes. We start with over 1700 known binding sites and, with no prior labeling, identify two sets of response elements by unsupervised clustering. When combined, they give rise to three types of p53 binding sites. We find that probabilistic and alignment-based assessments of cross-species conservation show no strong evidence of differential conservation between types of binding sites. In contrast, functional analysis of the genes most proximal to the binding sites provides strong bioinformatic evidence of functional differentiation between the three types of binding sites. Our results are consistent with recent structural data identifying two conformations of the L1 loop in the DNA binding domain, suggesting that they reflect biologically meaningful groups imposed by the p53 protein structure.



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