P53 mutation alters the effect of the esophageal tumor suppressor KLF5 on keratinocyte proliferation

Yizeng Yang, Rohinton S. Tarapore, Melissa H. Jarmel, Marie Pier Tetreault, Jonathan P. Katz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Krüppel-like factor 5 (KLF5) is a key transcriptional regulator that is typically pro-proliferative in non-transformed epithelial cells but inhibits proliferation in transformed epithelial cells. However, the underlying mechanisms for this context-dependent function are not known. KLF5 is epigenetically silenced and exhibits a tumor suppressive function in esophageal squamous cell cancer (ESCC). Since p53 mutation is the most common genetic alteration in ESCC, as in other human epithelial cancers, we hypothesized that the context-dependent functions of KLF5 in cell proliferation were dependent on p53 status. In fact, in non-transformed human primary esophageal keratinocytes, when p53 was wild-type, KLF5 was pro-proliferative; however, KLF5 became anti-proliferative when p53 was mutated. KLF5 loss in human primary keratinocytes harboring p53 mutation accelerated the cell cycle and decreased expression of p21Waf1/Cip1; similar effects were also seen in ESCC cells with established p53 mutations. Further, p21Waf1/Cip1 was directly and differentially bound and regulated by KLF5 in the presence or absence of mutant p53, and suppression of p21Waf1/Cip1 reversed the antiproliferative effects of KLF5 in the presence of p53 mutation. Thus, KLF5 is a critical brake on an aberrant cell cycle, with important tumor suppressive functions in esophageal squamous cell and potentially other epithelial cancers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4033-4039
Number of pages7
JournalCell Cycle
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 1 2012


  • KLF5
  • P21
  • P53
  • Proliferation
  • Squamous cell cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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