p53 Signaling Network (spike00016)
This gene encodes tumor protein p53, which responds to diverse cellular stresses to regulate target genes that induce cell cycle arrest, apoptosis, senescence, DNA repair, or changes in metabolism. p53 is a DNA-binding protein containing transcription activation, DNA-binding, and oligomerization domains. It is postulated to bind to a p53-binding site and activate expression of downstream genes that inhibit growth and/or invasion, and thus function as a tumor suppressor. Mutants of p53 that frequently occur in a number of different human cancers fail to bind the consensus DNA binding site, and hence cause the loss of tumor suppressor activity. In its anti-cancer role, p53 works through several mechanisms: (i) It can activate DNA repair proteins when DNA has sustained damage. (ii) It can induce growth arrest by holding the cell cycle at the G1/S regulation point on DNA damage recognition (if it holds the cell here for long enough, the DNA repair proteins will have time to fix the damage and the cell will be allowed to continue the cell cycle.) (iii) It can initiate apoptosis, the programmed cell death, if the DNA damage proves to be irreparable.
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