Affiliation: Department of Biochemistry, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong.
Tumor suppressor genes can promote p53-mediated apoptosis. Apoptosis is an important protective mechanism for normal cell growth. Aberrant regulation of p53 expression is linked to cancer development. The loss of function of p53 often results in tumorigenicity. It is reported that the high incidence of tumors in p53-deficient animals is highly attributed to p53-induced apoptosis. Malignancies that retain the wild-type p53 gene are associated with the biologic activity of p53 function. Most cancer cells show defects in p53 or inhibition in the associated pathways. A lot of effort has been focused on reactivating mutant p53, or recombinant technique to incorporate p53 in cells. Regulation of p53 has been described at both transcription and translation level. Activation of the p53 pathway appears to be an effective approach in inhibiting tumor development. In the present study, we have reviewed the recent developments of specific compounds that can regulate p53 expression and its function in cell growth and development. Integral to this is the function of other proteins that affect p53 activity.