The tumor suppressor linkurl:p53; 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; 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"...

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