Glutamate-rich WD40 repeat containing 1 (GRWD1) functions as a histone chaperone to promote loading of the MCM replication helicase at replication origins. GRWD1 is overexpressed in several cancer cell lines, and GRWD1 overexpression confers tumorigenic potential in human cells. However, less is known concerning its oncogenic activity. Our previous analysis showed that GRWD1 negatively regulates the tumour suppressor p53 via the RPL11-MDM2-p53 and RPL23-MDM2-p53 axes. Here, we demonstrate that GRWD1 directly interacts with p53 via the p53 DNA-binding domain. Upon DNA damage, GRWD1 downregulation resulted in increased p21 expression. Conversely, GRWD1 co-expression suppressed several p53-regulated promoters. GRWD1 interacted with the p21 and MDM2 promoters, and these interactions required p53. By using the Human Cancer Genome Atlas database, we found that GRWD1 expression levels are inversely correlated with the expression levels of some p53-target genes. Interestingly, high GRWD1 expression in combination with low expression levels of some p53-target genes was significantly correlated with poor prognosis in skin melanoma patients with wild-type p53. Taken together, our findings suggest a novel oncogenic function of GRWD1 as a transcriptional regulator of p53 and that GRWD1 might be an attractive therapeutic target and prognostic marker in cancer therapy.
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