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DNA Repair Critical to p53 Tumor Suppression

DNA repair processes are critical mediators of p53-dependent tumor suppression

p53, a tumor suppressor gene, is one of the most important genes in human cancer. p53 regulates responses to various stressors and is known to prevent cancer development. It is unclear as to which of the cellular processes activated by p53 are critical for suppressing tumor function. Many cancers, including colon and pancreatic, are a result of p53 mutations. Scientists have now identified a group of genes that function in the DNA repair process that are critical to p53 tumor suppressor function.

In a recent report, shRNA/CRISPR library screens were used to demonstrate that p53 can activate many diverse cellular responses. Over 300 genes that are regulated by p53 were examined. Coordination of DNA repair appears to be the most important process activated by p53 for tumor suppression. DNA repair genes including MLH1 are essential for p53’s ability to suppress tumor development. Further investigation of the genes that function in the DNA repair process could lead to more effective cancer treatments and to the identification of patients with an increased risk of developing cancer. Earlier diagnosis and more targeted cancer treatments could also be attainable.

For more information: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-018-0043-5

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