SEI family proteins, p34SEI-1 and SEI-2(TRIP-Br2), are nuclear factors that are implicated in cell cycle regulation through interaction with CDK4/CyclinD and E2F-1/DP-1 complexes. Here we report that the SEI family proteins regulate transcriptional activity of p53 tumor suppressor protein. Expression of SEI-1, SEI-2 or SEI-3 strongly stimulates p53-dependent gene activation in HeLa and U2OS cells but not in p53-deficient Saos2 or p53-knockdown HeLa cells. SEI proteins possess an intrinsic transactivation activity, interact with the coactivator CREB-binding protein, and cooperate synergistically with the ING family of chromatin-associated proteins to stimulate the transactivation function of p53. Doxycycline-induced expression of SEI proteins results in activation of the p21 gene and inhibition of cell growth, but the growth arrest was not suppressed by the siRNA-mediated knockdown of the endogenous p53 protein. These results indicate that the SEI family of nuclear proteins regulates p53 transcriptional activity and a p53-independent signaling pathway leading to growth inhibition.