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Cell Death Differ. 2008 Jun;15(6):959-76. doi: 10.1038/cdd.2008.33. Epub 2008 Mar 21.

The dark side of a tumor suppressor: anti-apoptotic p53.

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Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Düsseldorf, Universitätsstrasse 1, Düsseldorf 40225, Germany.


Depending on multiple factors DNA damage leads either to cell cycle arrest or apoptosis. One of the main players deciding the fate of a cell is the tumor suppressor p53 that modulates these responses in a transcription-dependent and -independent manner. Over the past few years, however, strong evidence accumulated that p53 engages also powerful pro-survival pathways by transcriptionally activating a multitude of genes whose products efficiently counteract apoptosis. Our review summarizes the current knowledge concerning approximately forty p53-regulated proteins that exert their anti-apoptotic potential by interfering with diverse cellular processes. These activities are surely essential for normal development and maintenance of a healthy organism, but may easily turn into the dark side of the tumor suppressor p53 contributing to tumorigenesis.

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