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Green tea polyphenol, epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) differentially regulates the cellular growth of cancer cells in a p53-dependent manner through apoptosis and/or cell cycle arrest. In an effort to further elucidate the mechanism of differential growth regulation by EGCG, we have investigated the role of the tyrosine phosphatase, SHP-2. Comparing the responses of mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs), expressing either WT or functionally inactive/truncated SHP-2, we find that inactivation of SHP-2 remarkably sensitizes cells to EGCG-mediated killing. MEFs lacking functional SHP-2 undergo massive apoptosis upon treatment with EGCG. By comparing gene expression profiles, we have identified a set of transcriptional targets of p53 that are differentially modulated in cells undergoing apoptosis. Western blot and real-time PCR analyses of a select group of genes further confirm that the expression is SHP-2-dependent. Similar observations were made in MEFs lacking p53, confirming that the expression of these “p53 target genes” is p53-independent. In addition, EGCG treatment induced the expression of p73 mRNA and protein in both cell types, but not p63. Inactivation of p73 in cells expressing nonfunctional SHP-2 markedly inhibited apoptosis and p53 target gene expression. Although phosphorylation of JNK is differentially regulated by SHP2, it was found to be dispensable for EGCG-induced apoptosis and p53 target gene expression. Our results have identified SHP-2 as a negative regulator of EGCG-induced-apoptosis and have identified a subset of p53 target genes whose expression is paradoxically not mediated by p53 but by one of its family members, p73.


The copy of record is available from the publisher at Copyright © 2007 by The National Academy of Sciences of the USA.