Send to

Choose Destination
Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol. 2009 Dec;1(6):a001073. doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a001073. Epub 2009 Oct 28.

The role of p53 gene family in reproduction.

Author information

Cancer Institute of New Jersey, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, New Brunswick, New Jersey 08903, USA.


The p53 family of genes (p53, p63, and p73) is conserved over evolutionary time scales. Although the functions of p53 gene and its protein as a tumor suppressor have been firmly established, the earliest functions for the p53 ancestral genes in worms and flies are to ensure germ-line genomic integrity and the fidelity of the developmental process. In vertebrates, the p53 family of genes retains those functions in germ-line genomic integrity but have added important functions in regulation of reproduction. Loss of the p53, p63, or p73 genes in female mice leads to a significant decrease of fertility. The p53 gene product regulates maternal reproduction at the implantation stage of the embryo. p63 and p73 play important roles in monitoring the genomic quality of oocytes. The p53 pathway appears to play a similar role in human fertility. In humans, certain alleles containing a functional single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the p53 pathway are under positive evolutionary selection. Selected alleles of these SNPs in the p53 pathway are associated with decreased fertility. This important function of the p53 pathway in reproduction provides a plausible explanation for the evolution of p53 as a tumor suppressor gene and the positive selection of some alleles in the p53 gene and its pathway. These observations provide a good possible example of antagonistic pleiotrophy for fertility, tumor suppression, and longevity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center