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Mol Cell. 2001 Mar;7(3):683-94.

PUMA, a novel proapoptotic gene, is induced by p53.

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Regulation of Cell Growth Laboratory, National Cancer Institute at Frederick, Maryland 21702, USA.


The p53 tumor-suppressor protein functions as a transcriptional activator, and several p53-inducible genes that play a role in the induction of apoptosis in response to p53 have been described. We have identified a novel gene named PUMA (p53 upregulated modulator of apoptosis) as a target for activation by p53. This gene encodes two BH3 domain-containing proteins (PUMA-alpha and PUMA-beta) that are induced in cells following p53 activation. PUMA-alpha and PUMA-beta show similar activities; they bind to Bcl-2, localize to the mitochondria to induce cytochrome c release, and activate the rapid induction of programmed cell death. Antisense inhibition of PUMA expression reduced the apoptotic response to p53, and PUMA is likely to play a role in mediating p53-induced cell death through the cytochrome c/Apaf-1-dependent pathway.

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