A Novel Role of SMG1 in Cholesterol Homeostasis That Depends Partially on p53 Alternative Splicing

Muyang Li (Lead / Corresponding author), Fredrick Philantrope, Alexandra Diot, Jean-Christophe Bourdon, Patricia Thompson (Lead / Corresponding author)

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SMG1, a phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase-related kinase (PIKK), essential in nonsensemediated RNA decay (NMD), also regulates p53, including the alternative splicing of p53ᵧ isoforms reported to retain p53 functions. We confirm that SMG1 inhibition in MCF7 tumor cells induces p53ᵧ and show p53 increase. Inhibiting SMG1, but not UPF1 (a core factor in NMD), upregulated several cholesterol pathway genes. SMG1 knockdown significantly increased ABCA1, a cholesterol efflux pump shown to be positively regulated by full-length p53 (p53ᵧ). An investigation of RASSF1C, an NMD target, increased following SMG1 inhibition and reported to inhibit miR-33a-5p, a canonical ABCA1-inhibiting miRNA, did not explain the ABCA1 results. ABCA1 upregulation following SMG1 knockdown was inhibited by p53ᵧ siRNA with greatest inhibition when p53ᵧ and p53ᵧ were jointly suppressed, while p53 siRNA had no effect. In contrast, increased expression of MVD, a cholesterol synthesis gene upregulated in p53 deficient backgrounds, was sensitive to combined targeting of p53 and p53. Phenotypically, we observed increased intracellular cholesterol and enhanced sensitivity of MCF7 to growth inhibitory effects of cholesterol-lowering Fatostatin following SMG1 inhibition. Our results suggest deregulation of cholesterol pathway genes following SMG1 knockdown may involve alternative p53 programming, possibly resulting from differential effects of p53 isoforms on cholesterol gene expression.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3255
Number of pages18
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 2022


  • ABCA1
  • SMG1
  • cholesterol
  • mevalonate
  • miR-33a-5p
  • p53
  • statin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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