SV40 induces neoplastic transformation by disabling several key cellular growth regulatory circuits. Among these are the Rb- and p53-families of tumor suppressors. The multifunctional, virus-encoded large T antigen blocks the function of both Rb and p53. Large T antigen uses multiple mechanisms to block p53 activity, and this action contributes to tumorigenesis, in part, by blocking p53-mediated growth suppression and apoptosis. Since the p53 pathway is inactivated in most human tumors, T antigen/p53 interactions offer a possible mechanism by which SV40 contributes to human cancer.
Copyright 2001 Academic Press.