Occurrence of DNA damage in a cell activates the DNA damage response, a survival mechanism that ensures genomics stability. Two key members of the DNA damage response are the tumor suppressor p53, which is the most frequently mutated gene in cancers, and MDC1, which is a central adaptor that recruits many proteins to sites of DNA damage. Here we characterize the in vitro interaction between p53 and MDC1 and demonstrate that p53 and MDC1 directly interact. The p53-MDC1 interaction is mediated by the tandem BRCT domain of MDC1 and the C-terminal domain of p53. We further show that both acetylation of lysine 382 and phosphorylation of serine 392 in p53 enhance the interaction between p53 and MDC1. Additionally, we demonstrate that the p53-MDC1 interaction is augmented upon the induction of DNA damage in human cells. Our data suggests a new role for acetylation of lysine 382 and phosphorylation of serine 392 in p53 in the cellular stress response and offers the first evidence for an interaction involving MDC1 that is modulated by acetylation.
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