Vanadate induces p53 transactivation through hydrogen peroxide and causes apoptosis

C. Huang, Z. Zhang, M. Ding, J. Li, J. Ye, S. S. Leonard, H. M. Shen, L. Butterworth, Y. Lu, M. Costa, Y. Rojanasakul, V. Castranova, V. Vallyathan, X. Shi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

164 Scopus citations


Vanadium is a metal widely distributed in the environment. Although vanadate-containing compounds exert potent toxic effects on a wide variety of biological systems, the mechanisms controlling vanadate-induced adverse effects remain to be elucidated. The present study investigated the vanadate-induced p53 activation and involvement of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in p53 activation as well as the role of p53 in apoptosis induction by vanadate. Exposure of mouse epidermal JB6 cells to vanadate led to transactivation of p53 activity in a time- and dose-dependent manner. It also caused mitochondrial damage, apoptosis, and generated ROS. Scavenging of vanadate-induced H2O2 by N-acetyl-L-cysteine (a general antioxidant) or catalase (a specific H2O2 inhibitor), or the chelation of vanadate by deferoxamine, resulted in inhibition of p53 activation and cell mitochondrial damage. In contract, an increase in H2O2 generation in response to superoxide dismutase or NADPH enhanced these effects caused by vanadate. Furthermore, vanadate-induced apoptosis occurred in cells expressing wild-type p53 (p53+/+) but was very weak in p53-deficient (p53-/-) cells. These results demonstrate that vanadate induces p53 activation mainly through H2O2 generation, and this activation is required for vanadate-induced apoptosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32516-32522
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number42
StatePublished - Oct 20 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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