Long story short: p53 mediates innate immunity

Jessica Miciak, Fred Bunz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


The story of p53 and how we came to understand it is punctuated by fundamental insights into the essence of cancer. In the decades since its discovery, p53 has been shown to be centrally involved in most, if not all, of the cellular processes that maintain tissue homeostasis. Extensive functional analyses of p53 and its tumor-associated mutants have illuminated many of the common defects shared by most cancer cells. As the central character in a tale that continues to unfold, p53 has become increasingly familiar and yet remains surprisingly inscrutable. New relationships periodically come to light, and surprising, novel activities continue to emerge, thereby revealing new dimensions and aspects of its function. What lies at the very core of this complex protagonist? What is its prime motivation? As every avid reader knows, the elements of character are profoundly shaped by adversity - originating from within and without. And so it is with p53. This review will briefly recap the coordinated responses of p53 to viral infection, and outline a hypothetical model that would explain how an abundance of seemingly unrelated phenotypic attributes may in the end reflect a singular function. All stories eventually draw to a conclusion. This epic tale may eventually leave us with the realization that p53, most simply described, is a protein that evolved to mediate immune surveillance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)220-227
Number of pages8
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Reviews on Cancer
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016


  • Adenovirus
  • DNA damage
  • Interferon
  • P53

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Genetics
  • Cancer Research


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