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Oncogene. 2007 Apr 2;26(15):2243-54.

Reactivation of mutant p53: molecular mechanisms and therapeutic potential.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, Tumor and Cell Biology, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.


The p53 tumor suppressor gene is the most frequently mutated gene in cancer. Most p53 mutations are missense point mutations that cluster in the DNA-binding core domain. This results in distortion of core domain folding and disruption of DNA binding and transcriptional transactivation of p53 target genes. Structural studies have demonstrated that mutant p53 core domain unfolding is not irreversible. Mutant p53 is expressed at high levels in many tumors. Therefore, mutant p53 is a promising target for novel cancer therapy. Mutant p53 reactivation will restore p53-dependent apoptosis, resulting in efficient removal of tumor cells. A number of strategies for targeting mutant p53 have been designed, including peptides and small molecules that restore the active conformation and DNA binding to mutant p53 and induce p53-dependent suppression of tumor cell growth in vitro and in vivo. This opens possibilities for the clinical application of mutant p53 reactivation in the treatment of cancer.

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