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J Neurochem. 2006 Jun;97(6):1571-84.

The p53 family in nervous system development and disease.

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Cancer Research, Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada.


The p53 family, consisting of the tumor suppressors p53, p63 and p73, play a vital role as regulators of survival and apoptosis in the developing, adult and injured nervous system. These proteins function as key survival and apoptosis checkpoints in neurons, acting as either rheostats or sensors responsible for integrating multiple pro-apoptotic and survival cues. A dramatic example of this checkpoint function is observed in developing sympathetic neurons, where a pro-survival and truncated form of p73 antagonizes the apoptotic functions of p53 and p63. Thus the levels and activities of the different p53 family members may ultimately determine whether neurons either live or die during nervous system development and disease.

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