Journal 4, April 2006pages: 249-251
The Ink4a-Arf locus, which encodes two distinct tumor suppressor proteins, is inactivated in many cancers. Whereas p16Ink4a is an inhibitor of cyclin D-dependent kinases, p19Arf (p14ARF in humans) antagonizes the E3 ubiquitin protein ligase activity of Mdm2 to activate p53. We now recognize that Arf functions in both p53-dependent and -independent modes to counteract hyper-proliferative signals originating from proto-oncogene activation, but its p53-independent activities remain poorly understood. Arf proteins are highly basic (> 20% arginine content, pI > 12) and predominantly localize within nucleoli in physical association with an abundant acidic protein, nucleophosmin (NPM/B23). When bound to NPM, Arf proteins are relatively stable with half-lives of 6–8 hours. Although mouse p19Arf contains only a single lysine residue and human p14ARF has none, both proteins are N-terminally ubiquitinated and degraded in proteasomes. Through as yet uncharacterized mechanisms, p19Arf induces p53-independent sumoylation of a variety of cellular target proteins with which it interacts, including both Mdm2 and NPM. A naturally occurring NPM mutant (NPMc) expressed in myeloid leukemia cells redirects both wild-type NPM and p19Arf to the cytoplasm, inhibits Arf-induced sumoylation, and attenuates p53 activity. Thus, ubiquitination and sumoylation can each influence Arf tumor suppressor activity.
 NPM = nucleophosmin