1 – Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Bioanalytics, Center for Structural Mass Spectrometry, Institute of Pharmacy, Martin-Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Kurt-Mothes-Str. 3, 06120, Halle/Saale, Germany.
The tumor suppressor protein p53 is a transcription factor that is referred to as the “guardian of the genome” and plays an important role in cancer development. P53 is active as a homotetramer; the S100β homodimer binds to the intrinsically disordered C-terminus of p53 affecting its transcriptional activity. The p53/S100β complex is regarded as highly promising therapeutic target in cancer. It has been suggested that S100β exerts its oncogenic effects by altering the p53 oligomeric state. Our aim was to study the structures and oligomerization behavior of different p53/S100β complexes by electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (ESI-MS), cross-linking mass spectrometry (XL-MS), and surface plasmon resonance (SPR). For this, wild-type p53 and single amino acid variants, representing different oligomeric states of p53 (tetrameric wild-type, dimeric L344A variant, and monomeric L344P variant) were individually investigated regarding their binding behavior towards S100β. The stoichiometry of the different p53/S100β complexes were determined by ESI-MS showing that tetrameric, dimeric, and monomeric p53 variants all bind to an S100β dimer. In addition, XL-MS revealed the topologies of the p53/S100β complexes to be independent of p53’s oligomeric state. With SPR, the thermodynamic parameters were determined for S100β binding to tetrameric, dimeric or monomeric p53 variants. Our data prove that the S100β homodimer binds to different oligomeric states of p53 irrespective of p53´s oligomerization state and similar binding affinities were observed. This emphasizes the need for alternative explanations to describe the molecular mechanisms underlying p53/S100β interaction.