Tumor suppressor p53 is a candidate for transcriptional regulation in negative or positive cell growth. To identify the function of p53 in the early gene expression of human papillomavirus type 59 (HPV 59), transcriptional activity of the HPV 59 E6 promoter was analyzed by chloramphenicol acetyltransferase assay. Wild-type p53 inhibited the transcription of the HPV 59 E6 promoter. The transcriptional repression by wild type p53 was overcome by increasing the expression of the HPV 59 E6 oncoprotein. cis-regulatory elements related to the repression by p53 could not be detected in the HPV 59 upstream regulatory region (URR) when deletion mutants of HPV 59 URR were cotransfected with wild-type p53. Furthermore, wild-type p53 did not bind to the putative consensus sequences located at nt 26 (75% identical nucleotides as compared with consensus sequences) in the proximal region of the E6 promoter. Therefore, transcriptional repression of the HPV 59 E6 promoter by wild-type p53 might be mediated by inhibiting the formation of a transcriptional initiation complex via an interaction with the TATA binding protein.
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