P53 gene

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The p53 gene is a gene that codes for a protein for tumor suppression. It is very important for cells in multicellular organisms to suppress uncontrolled cell division. More than 50% of tumors in humans show a mutation or deletion of the p53 gene.

Protein structure

The p53 protein consists of three units (or domains):

  • A domain that activates transcription factors.
  • A domain that recognizes specific DNA sequences.
  • A domain that recognized damaged DNA, such as misaligned base pairs or single-stranded DNA.

Mechanism

The p53 protein can regulate the cell in several ways:

  • It can activate DNA repair proteins when it recognizes damaged DNA.
  • It can also hold the cell cycle at the G1/S regulation point on DNA damage recognition.
  • It can initiate apoptosis, the programmed cell death, if the DNA damage proves to be irrepairable.