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FEBS Lett. 2004 Jun 1;567(1):86-91.

Of flies and men; p53, a tumour suppressor.

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Lehrstuhl für Molekularbiologie, Adolf-Butenandt-Institut, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Schillerstrasse 44, 80336 Munich, Germany.


The completion of the Drosophila genome sequencing project [Science 287 (2000) 2185] has reconfirmed the fruit fly as a model organism to study human disease. Comparison studies have shown that two thirds of genes implicated in human cancers have counterparts in the fly [Curr. Opin. Genet. Dev. 11 (2001) 274; J. Cell Biol. 150 (2000) F23], including the tumour suppressor, p53. The suitability of the fruit fly to study the function of the tumour suppressor p53 is further exemplified by the lack of p53 family members within the fly genome, i.e., no homologues to p63 and p73 have been identified. Hence, there is no redundancy between family members greatly facilitating the analysis of p53 function. In addition, studying p53 in Drosophila provides an opportunity to learn about the evolution of tumour suppressors. Here, we will discuss what is known about Drosophila p53 in relation to human p53.

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