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Tumor suppressor regulates reproduction?

The tumor suppressor linkurl:p53;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/43281/ is a crucial player in the successful impregnation of mice, and plays a surprising new role in reproduction, according to a study published today in Nature. Arnold Levine's group at the University of Medicine and Dentistry, NJ, showed that p53 linkurl:regulates;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/50738/ a cytokine which is the most highly expressed at the onset of embryo implantation -- in fact, implantation

By | November 28, 2007

The tumor suppressor linkurl:p53;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/43281/ is a crucial player in the successful impregnation of mice, and plays a surprising new role in reproduction, according to a study published today in Nature. Arnold Levine's group at the University of Medicine and Dentistry, NJ, showed that p53 linkurl:regulates;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/50738/ a cytokine which is the most highly expressed at the onset of embryo implantation -- in fact, implantation cannot occur without it. Levine's group showed that this cytokine, leukemia inhibiting factor (LIF), is still present in the uterine wall of p53 knockout mice. But without expression of the p53 protein, embryos could not implant in the uterine wall in a significant number of cases. The researchers posited that p53 is a key player in the implantation process and somehow regulates the LIF gene. These results are "surprising," Colin Stewart, at the Institute of Medical Biology in Singapore, wrote in the paper's accompanying "News and Views" article. While there have been tens of thousands of studies relating to p53, its protective power over the genome from tumor growth is its most famous function. How the reproductive system commandeered the powers of this protein remain to be seen, Stewart writes, but it clearly is regulating the transcription of the LIF gene. The hypoxic environment of the uterus -- hypoxia being one of the main stressors that regulates p53 -- may have somehow triggered p53 function during embryo implantation-related processes. Researchers reported last year that a polymorphism in p53 was associated with failure to implant in humans -- findings bolstered by this new work that fingers p53 as a key player in reproduction.
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