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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2005 Jun 10;331(3):828-33.

Maintaining appearances--the role of p53 in adult neurogenesis.

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  • 1Department of Neuroscience, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22908, USA.


In the adult mammalian brain, neuronal turnover continues to replenish cells in existing neuronal circuits, such as those involved either in odor discrimination or in learning and memory, throughout life. With age, however, the capacity for neurogenesis diminishes and these functions become impaired. Neuronal turnover is a two-step process, which first generates excess neuronal progenitors and then eliminates all but the few that differentiate into fully functional neurons. This process requires a fine balance between cell proliferation and cell death. Altered activity of the tumor suppressor p53 can upset this balance by affecting the rate of cell proliferation, but not the rate of cell death, in neurogenic regions of the adult brain. Genetically engineered mice in which p53 activity is increased demonstrate that premature loss of neurogenic capacity is linked to accelerated organismal aging.

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