Tumor suppressor gene
Deppert, Wolfgang Heinrich-Pette-Institut für Experimentelle Virologie und Immunologie an der Universität Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany.
Last reviewed:March 2019
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- Multifunctionality of p53
- Genomic integrity
- Prognosis and therapy
- Gene therapy approaches
- Conventional approaches
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
Any member of a class of genes that, when mutated, predispose an individual to cancer by causing the loss of function of the particular tumor suppressor protein encoded by the gene. Tumor suppressor genes (Fig. 1) comprise a functionally heterogenous group of genes, ranging from nuclear transcription factors to cell adhesion molecules, having as their common denominator that their function must be compromised during development and progression of a given tumor. The most important and most widely studied tumor suppressor is called p53, which helps protect a normal cell from becoming malignant. The importance of p53 becomes evident from the fact that mutations in its gene are found in approximately 50% of all human cancers, thus constituting the most frequent alteration in a single human cancer-associated gene. The prevalence of p53 mutations in human cancer has spurred research worldwide to decipher p53 functions. It is clear that the major function of p53 is to preserve the integrity of the genome of a cell under various conditions of cellular stress, endowing p53 with the title "guardian of the genome," coined by David Lane, one of the discoverers of p53 in 1979. See also: Cancer; Cancer cell metabolism; Gene; Genetics; Mutation; Oncology; Tumor
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