EGCG binds intrinsically disordered N-terminal domain of p53 and disrupts p53-MDM2 interaction

Jing Zhao, Alan Blayney, Xiaorong Liu, Lauren Gandy, Weihua Jin, Lufeng Yan, Jeung Hoi Ha, Ashley J. Canning, Michael Connelly, Chao Yang, Xinyue Liu, Yuanyuan Xiao, Michael S. Cosgrove, Sozanne R. Solmaz, Yingkai Zhang, David Ban, Jianhan Chen, Stewart N. Loh, Chunyu Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) from green tea can induce apoptosis in cancerous cells, but the underlying molecular mechanisms remain poorly understood. Using SPR and NMR, here we report a direct, μM interaction between EGCG and the tumor suppressor p53 (KD = 1.6 ± 1.4 μM), with the disordered N-terminal domain (NTD) identified as the major binding site (KD = 4 ± 2 μM). Large scale atomistic simulations (>100 μs), SAXS and AUC demonstrate that EGCG-NTD interaction is dynamic and EGCG causes the emergence of a subpopulation of compact bound conformations. The EGCG-p53 interaction disrupts p53 interaction with its regulatory E3 ligase MDM2 and inhibits ubiquitination of p53 by MDM2 in an in vitro ubiquitination assay, likely stabilizing p53 for anti-tumor activity. Our work provides insights into the mechanisms for EGCG’s anticancer activity and identifies p53 NTD as a target for cancer drug discovery through dynamic interactions with small molecules.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number986
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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