Loss of p53 suppresses replication-stress-induced DNA breakage in G1/S checkpoint deficient cells

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Bente Benedict
  • Tanja van Harn
  • Marleen Dekker
  • Simone Hermsen
  • Asli Kucukosmanoglu
  • Wietske Pieters
  • Elly Delzenne-Goette
  • Josephine C Dorsman
  • Floris Foijer
  • Hein te Riele

Colleges, School and Institutes


In cancer cells, loss of G1/S control is often accompanied by p53 pathway inactivation, the latter usually rationalized as a necessity for suppressing cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. However, we found an unanticipated effect of p53 loss in mouse and human G1-checkpoint-deficient cells: reduction of DNA damage. We show that abrogation of the G1/S-checkpoint allowed cells to enter S-phase under growth-restricting conditions at the expense of severe replication stress manifesting as decelerated DNA replication, reduced origin firing and accumulation of DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs). In this system, loss of p53 allowed mitogen-independent proliferation, not by suppressing apoptosis, but rather by restoring origin firing and reducing DNA breakage. Loss of G1/S control also caused DNA damage and activation of p53 in an in vivo retinoblastoma model. Moreover, in a teratoma model, loss of Trp53 reduced DNA breakage. Thus, loss of p53 may promote growth of incipient cancer cells by reducing replication-stress-induced DNA damage.


Original languageEnglish
Article numbere37868
Early online date16 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - 16 Oct 2018


  • replication stress, DNA double strand breaks, retinoblastoma, p53, origin firing, G1/S phase checkpoint