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Cancer Res. 2006 May 1;66(9):4795-801.

The regulation of exosome secretion: a novel function of the p53 protein.

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Cancer Institute of New Jersey, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA.


The p53 protein responds to stress signals by regulating the transcription of a variety of genes. Some of these genes encode secreted proteins that may be involved in the communication between adjacent cells. In this study, a proteomics approach was employed to identify proteins secreted by cells in a p53-dependent manner after DNA damage. In addition to the known transcriptional targets of p53, a set of proteins encoded by genes that are not transcriptional targets of p53 were found to increase in the culture medium after p53 activation. These proteins exit the cell via small, secreted vesicles called exosomes and exosome production by cells was found to be regulated by the p53 response. A p53-regulated gene product, TSAP6, was shown to enhance exosome production in cells undergoing a p53 response to stress. Thus, the p53 pathway regulates the production of exosomes into the medium and these vesicles can communicate with adjacent cells and even cells of the immune system.

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