In the January 1 issue of Genes & Development, Dr. Mary Ellen Perry and colleagues validate the p53 inhibitor, Mdm2, as a promising target for cancer therapies.
The p53 tumor suppressor plays a critical role in cancer formation, and many anticancer strategies aim to activate p53 in order to curb tumor formation. Mdm2 is a key inhibitor of p53 and therefore an attractive target to modulate p53 activity in cells. However, conflicting evidence exists regarding whether or not p53-mediated tumor suppression comes at the cost of accelerated aging.
To analyze the effects of reduced Mdm2 levels on tumorigenesis – as well as the potential for unwanted side effects – Dr. Perry’s team used mdm2-hypomorphic mice (that express less Mdm2 protein than normal mice) which have elevated levels of wild-type p53 activity. The researchers found that even a modest decrease (about 20%) in Mdm2 effectively prevents tumor formation and does not lead to premature aging.
Heather Cosel | EurekAlert!
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