In what may be a new mechanism cells use to suppress apoptosis, overexpression of a chromosomal protein appears to inactivate p53, according to a new study appearing this week in the Journal of Clinical Investigation. The researchers found that overexpression of the high mobility group protein A1 (HMGA1) appears to deactivate the tumor suppressor gene p53 by shuttling its activator protein out of the nucleus in cancer cells. "This paper identifies a new potential mechanism of [p53 inactivation]," Gerard Evan, a cancer biologist at the University of California San Francisco who was not involved in the current research, told The Scientist. Mutations in p53, a transcription factor, have been associated with more than 50 percent of all human tumors. P53 regulates cell growth by apoptosis, and can shrink tumors when reactivated.The study was led by a group at the Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori Regina Elena...

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