Mutant p53: an oncogenic transcription factor
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Inactivation of tumor-suppressor genes is one of the key hallmarks of a tumor. Unlike other tumor-suppressor genes, p53 is inactivated by missense mutations in half of all human cancers. It has become increasingly clear that the resulting mutant p53 proteins do not represent only the mere loss of wild-type p53 tumor suppressor activity, but gain new oncogenic properties favoring the insurgence, the maintenance, the spreading and the chemoresistance of malignant tumors. The actual challenge is the fine deciphering of the molecular mechanisms underlying the gain of function of mutant p53 proteins. In this review, we will focus mainly on the transcriptional activity of mutant p53 proteins as one of the potential molecular mechanisms. To date, the related knowledge is still quite scarce and many of the raised questions of this review are yet unanswered.
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