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Mutat Res. 2005 Aug 25;576(1-2):4-21.

Probing p53 biological functions through the use of genetically engineered mouse models.

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Department of Radiation Oncology and Genetics, Stanford University School of Medicine, CCSR South, CA 94305-5152, USA.


The p53 tumor suppressor gene is rendered dysfunctional in the majority of human cancers. To model the effects of p53 dysfunction in an experimentally manipulable organismal context, genetically engineered inbred mice have been the models of choice. Transgenic and knock-out technologies have been utilized to generate an array of different p53 germ line alterations. As expected, many (though not all) of the mutant p53 mouse models are susceptible to enhanced spontaneous and carcinogen-induced tumors of a variety of types. A number of different variables affect the incidence and spectrum of tumors in p53 mutant mice. These include strain background, the nature of the p53 mutation, the presence of wild-type p53 (in addition to mutant p53), exposure to physical and chemical mutagens, or introduction of other cancer-associated genes into the mutant p53 background. In addition to their role in furthering our understanding of the mechanisms of cancer initiation and progression, these models have led to unexpected insights into p53 function in embryogenesis and aging. With the development of ever more sophisticated methods for manipulating the mouse genome, new p53 models are on the horizon, which should deliver advances that will provide not only important mechanistic insights but also discoveries of great clinical relevance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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