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Upon genomic insult, the tumor suppressor p53 is phosphorylated and acetylated at specific serine and lysine residues, increasing its stability and transactivation function. Deacetylases, including the type III histone deacetylaseSIRT1, remove acetyl groups from p53 and counterbalance acetyltransferase activity during a DNA damage response. This report describes a series of high-throughput LanthaScreen® time-resolved Förster resonance energy transfer (TR-FRET) immunoassays for detection ofintracellular p53 phosphorylation of Ser15 and acetylation of Lys382 upon treatment with DNA damage agents, such as etoposide. These assays were used to measure the deacetylase activity of SIRT1 and/or Type I/II Histonedeacetylases (HDACs). First, BacMam-mediated overexpression of SIRT1 resulted in dose-dependent deacetylation of GFP-p53 following etoposide treatment of U-2 OS cells, confirming that GFP-p53 serves as a SIRT1 substrate in this assay format. Further, overexpression of the acetyltransferase p300 via BacMam increased the acetylation of GFP-p53 at Lys382. Next, siRNA-mediated knockdown of SIRT1 resulted in increased GFP-p53acetylation, indicating that endogenous SIRT1 activity can also be measured in U-2 OS cells. Consistent with these results, GFP-p53acetylation was also increased upon treatment of cells with a small-molecule inhibitor of SIRT1, EX-527. The effect of this compound was dramatically increased when used in combination with chemotherapeutic drug and/or the HDACinhibitorTrichostatin A, confirming a proposed synergistic mechanism of p53 deacetylation by SIRT1 and Type I/II HDACs. Taken together, the cellular assays described here can be used as high-throughput alternatives to traditional immunoassays such as western blotting for identifying pharmacological modulators of specific p53-modifying enzymes.
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