Chapter 23. p53


Martyna Lipian, Dorota Bartusik-Aebisher and David Aebisher
Medical College of the University of Rzeszów, Poland

Part of the book: The Biochemical Guide to Proteins


The p53 protein is also called the genome guardian and it participates in the processes of cell aging, cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. It is activated as a result of cellular stress in the event of DNA damage, hypoxia or thermal shock. P53 is named after its molecular weight, which is 53kDa. A mutation in the TP53 gene causes the Li-Fraumeni disease syndrome. The mutation is hereditary, autosomal dominant transmission with high penetrance, and it can also arise spontaneously in the process of early embryogenesis. The p53 level in healthy cells is kept low thanks to the Mdm2 control, which is a negative regulator of p53 expression. p53 is one of the most frequently mutated genes present in cancer, up to 50%, and up to 80% in the case of very invasive forms, which leads to the conclusion that cancer therapies should focus on it. The p53 protein has been and remains in the field of interest of many research works due to the significant role it plays in inhibiting the development of neoplastic processes. Studies in which plasmids with wild-type alleles of the p53 gene were introduced into the neoplastic cells proved that in this way it is possible to achieve the effect of inhibition of the cell cycle or apopotosis. The combination of genotherapy with radio- or chemotherapy ensures increased effectiveness of the treatment.

Keywords: Li-Fraumeni disease syndrome, p53, DNA-binding domain, genotherapy


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