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Cell Death Differ. 2006 Jun;13(6):951-61.

Transcriptional regulation by p53: one protein, many possibilities.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Columbia University, 530 120th Street, New York, NY 10027, USA.


The p53 tumor suppressor protein is a DNA sequence-specific transcriptional regulator that, in response to various forms of cellular stress, controls the expression of numerous genes involved in cellular outcomes including among others, cell cycle arrest and cell death. Two key features of the p53 protein are required for its transcriptional activities: its ability to recognize and bind specific DNA sequences and to recruit both general and specialized transcriptional co-regulators. In fact, multiple interactions with co-activators and co-repressors as well as with the components of the general transcriptional machinery allow p53 to either promote or inhibit transcription of different target genes. This review focuses on some of the salient features of the interactions of p53 with DNA and with factors that regulate transcription. We discuss as well the complexities of the functional domains of p53 with respect to these interactions.

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