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Genes Cancer. 2012 Mar;3(3-4):283-90. doi: 10.1177/1947601912454139.

Protecting the genome from mdm2 and mdmx.

Author information

1
Department of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN, USA.

Abstract

The contribution of Mdm2, and its recently identified family member Mdmx (Mdm4), to tumorigenesis has primarily focused on their negative regulation of the p53 tumor suppressor. Although Mdm2 and Mdmx clearly inhibit p53, which can lead to tumor development, both have also been shown to affect tumorigenesis independent of p53. Given that Mdm2 and/or Mdmx overexpression is common and likely underestimated in human cancers, understanding the functions of these proteins beyond p53 control is critical. In recent years, new functions of Mdm2 and Mdmx that lead to genome instability, a hallmark of malignancy, have emerged. Specifically, roles in the DNA damage response that are distinct from their regulation of p53 have been identified. Inhibition of p53 as well as other components of the DNA damage response by Mdm2 and Mdmx can result in delayed DNA repair and increased genome instability, making Mdm2 and Mdmx a danger to the genome when aberrantly expressed. However, the genome instability caused by altered levels of Mdm2 and Mdmx could be used therapeutically for the treatment of cancer. Specifically, drugs/small molecules that target the interaction between Mdm2 and p53 can stabilize Mdm2, resulting in negative consequences on the genome that could be exploited for cancer treatment, particularly malignancies lacking functional p53.

KEYWORDS:

Mdm2; Mdmx; Nbs1; genome instability; p53

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