Amino terminal hydrophobic import signals target the p14ARF tumor suppressor to the mitochondria

Mal Irvine, Suzanah Philipsz, Monika Frausto, Branka Mijatov, Stuart J. Gallagher, Carina Fung, Therese M. Becker, Richard F. Kefford, Helen Rizos*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


The p14ARF tumor suppressor is frequently targeted for inactivation in many human cancers and in individuals predisposed to cutaneous melanoma. The functions of p14ARF are closely linked with its subcellular distribution. Nucleolar p14ARF dampens ribosome biosynthesis and nucleoplasmic forms of p14ARF activate the p53 pathway and induce cell cycle arrest. p14ARF can also be recruited to mitochondria where it interacts with many mitochondrial proteins, including Bcl-xL and p32 to induce cell death. It has been suggested that the movement of p14ARF to mitochondria requires its interaction with p32, but we now show that the ARF-p32 interaction is not necessary for the accumulation of p14ARF in mitochondria. Instead, highly hydrophobic domains within the amino-terminal half of p14ARF act as mitochondrial import sequences. We suggest that once this hydrophobic pocket is exposed, possibly in a stimulus-dependent manner, it accelerates the mitochondrial import of p14ARF. this allows the interaction of p14ARF with mitochondrial proteins, including p32 and enables p53-independent cell death.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)829-839
Number of pages11
JournalCell Cycle
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2010
Externally publishedYes


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