Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Cancer Res. 2005 May 15;65(10):3980-5.

Lost in transcription: p21 repression, mechanisms, and consequences.

Author information

Department of Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois 60612, USA.


The cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p21WAF1/CIP1 is a major player in cell cycle control and it is mainly regulated at the transcriptional level. Whereas induction of p21 predominantly leads to cell cycle arrest, repression of p21 may have a variety of outcomes depending on the context. In this review, we concentrate on transcriptional repression of p21 by cellular and viral factors, and delve in detail into its possible biological implications and its role in cancer. It seems that the major mode of p21 transcriptional repression by negative regulators is the interference with positive transcription factors without direct binding to the p21 promoter. Specifically, the negative factors may either inhibit binding of positive regulators to the promoter or hinder their transcriptional activity. The ability of p21 to inhibit proliferation may contribute to its tumor suppressor function. Because of this, it is not surprising that a number of oncogenes repress p21 to promote cell growth and tumorigenesis. However, p21 is also an inhibitor of apoptosis and p21 repression may also have an anticancer effect. For example, c-Myc and chemical p21 inhibitors, which repress p21, sensitize tumor cells to apoptosis by anticancer drugs. Further identification of factors that repress p21 is likely to contribute to the better understanding of its role in cancer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Support Center