How p53 keeps the cellular peace

Findings explain the mechanism by which the tumor suppressor puts the brakes on oncogenic Ras

Jeffrey M. Perkel
Jan 17, 2007
The p53 tumor suppressor protein serves as the integration point for two separate signal transduction pathways, suggesting a mechanism by which p53 keeps cancer in check, according to a report published in this week's Science. The findings also clarify at the molecular level the well known, but poorly understood, crosstalk between receptor tyrosine kinase and TGF-beta signals. "I thought it was a really beautiful story," Liliana Attisano of the University of Toronto, who was not involved in the study, told The Scientist. "It provides a really nice mechanistic insight into something we knew happened but we didn't know why."The behavior of cells is regulated not by one single message, but by the combined efforts of several signals, explained Stefano Piccolo of the University of Padua, Italy, who led the study. Researchers are well versed in the meanings of individual "words" in this molecular vocabulary, he said; "The next...