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Nature. 2003 Jul 31;424(6948):516-23.

Integration of interferon-alpha/beta signalling to p53 responses in tumour suppression and antiviral defence.

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Department of Immunology, Faculty of Medicine and Graduate School of Medicine, University of Tokyo, Hongo 7-3-1, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan.


Swift elimination of undesirable cells is an important feature in tumour suppression and immunity. The tumour suppressor p53 and interferon-alpha and -beta (IFN-alpha/beta) are essential for the induction of apoptosis in cancerous cells and in antiviral immune responses, respectively, but little is known about their interrelationship. Here we show that transcription of the p53 gene is induced by IFN-alpha/beta, accompanied by an increase in p53 protein level. IFN-alpha/beta signalling itself does not activate p53; rather, it contributes to boosting p53 responses to stress signals. We show examples in which p53 gene induction by IFN-alpha/beta contributes to tumour suppression. Furthermore, we show that p53 is activated in virally infected cells to evoke an apoptotic response and that p53 is critical for antiviral defence of the host. Our study reveals a hitherto unrecognized link between p53 and IFN-alpha/beta in tumour suppression and antiviral immunity, which may have therapeutic implications.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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