In response to a variety of types of DNA damage, the p53 tumor suppressor gene product is activated and regulates a number of downstream cellular processes such as cell cycle arrest, apoptosis and DNA repair. Recent discoveries concerning the regulation of DNA repair processes by p53, such as nucleotide excision repair (NER) and base excision repair (BER) have paved the way for studies to understand the mechanisms governing p53-dependent DNA repair. Although several theories have been proposed, accumulating evidence points to a transcriptional regulatory role for p53 in NER, mediating expression of the global genomic repair (GGR)-specific damage recognition genes, DDB2 and XPC. In BER, a more direct role for p53 has been proposed, potentially acting through protein-protein interactions with BER specific factors. These advances have greatly enhanced our understanding of the role of p53 in DNA repair and this review comprehensively summarizes current opinions on the mechanisms of p53-dependent DNA repair.