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Exp Dermatol. 1993 Jun;2(3):99-105.

TP53 tumor-suppressor gene and human carcinogenesis.

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  • 1Laboratoire de Dermatologie Moléculaire, CNRS/CRBM, Montpellier, France.


The wild-type tumor-suppressor TP53 gene encodes for a nuclear protein which has been shown to act as a transcriptional modulator. The cellular role of the p53 protein is the control of cell proliferation, particularly important in stressed cells. The TP53 gene is frequently mutated in sporadic and familial human cancers. Most transforming mutations localize in highly conserved domains of the gene and define hot-spot regions that have a certain degree of tissue specificity. Moreover, most mutations are point mutations and the type and localization of the nucleotide substitution may sometimes help in recognizing the carcinogenic agent. This is the case for C to T transitions at dipyrimidine sites induced by UV radiation in cutaneous epitheliomas. Inactivation of p53 protein can also occur through mechanisms other than genetic alteration, such as binding to viral or cellular proteins. Loss of wild-type TP53 function seems therefore to play a crucial role in cell transformation in human cancers, either during carcinogenesis or later in tumor progression.

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