Most colorectal cancer (CRC) are characterized by allele loss of the genes located on the short arm of chromosome 17 (17p13.1), including the tumor suppressor p53 gene. Although important, p53 is not the only driver of chromosome 17p loss. In this study, we explored the biological and prognostic significance of genes around p53 on 17p13.1 in CRC. The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) were used to identify differentially expressed genes located between 1000 kb upstream and downstream of p53 gene. The function of CLDN7 was evaluated by both in vitro and in vivo experiments. Quantitative real-time PCR, western blot, and promoter luciferase activity, immunohistochemistry were used to explore the molecular drivers responsible for the development and progression of CRC. The results showed that CLDN7, located between 1000 kb upstream and downstream of p53 gene, were remarkably differentially expressed in tumor and normal tissues. CLDN7 expression also positively associated with p53 level in different stages of the adenoma-carcinoma sequence. Both in vitro and in vivo assays showed that CLDN7 inhibited cell proliferation in p53 wild type CRC cells, but had no effects on p53 mutant CRC cells. Mechanistically, p53 could bind to CLDN7 promoter region and regulate its expression. Clinically, high CLDN7 expression was negatively correlated with tumor size, invasion depth, lymphatic metastasis and AJCC III/IV stage, but was positively associated with favorable prognosis of CRC patients. Collectively, our work uncovers the tumor suppressive function for CLDN7 in a p53-dependent manner, which may mediate colorectal tumorigenesis induced by p53 deletion or mutation.
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