We have previously identified PRIMA-1, a low molecular weight compound that restores the transcriptional transactivation function to mutant p53 and induction of apoptosis. To explore the molecular mechanism for PRIMA-1-induced mutant p53-dependent apoptosis, we examined the intracellular distribution of mutant p53 upon treatment with PRIMA-1MET by immunofluorescence staining. We found that PRIMA-1MET induced nucleolar translocation of mutant p53 and the promyelocytic leukemia (PML) nuclear body-associated proteins PML, CBP and Hsp70. Levels of Hsp70 were significantly enhanced by PRIMA-1MET treatment. PRIMA-Dead, a compound structurally related to PRIMA-1 but unable to induce mutant p53-dependent apoptosis, failed to induce nucleolar translocation of mutant p53. Our results suggest that redistribution of mutant p53 to nucleoli plays a role in PRIMA-1-induced apoptosis.