In addition to the loss of wild-type p53 activity, a high percentage of tumor cells accumulate mutant p53 protein isoforms. Whereas the hallmark of the wild-type p53 is its tumor suppressor activities, tumor-associated mutant p53 proteins acquire novel functions enabling them to promote a large spectrum of cancer phenotypes. During the last years, it became clear that tumor-associated mutant p53 proteins are not only distinct from the wild-type p53, but they also represent a heterogeneous population of proteins with a variety of structure-function features. One of the major mechanisms underlying mutant p53 gain of function is the ability to regulate gene expression. Although a large number of specific target genes were identified, the molecular basis for this regulation is not fully elucidated. This review describes the present knowledge about the transcriptional activities of mutant p53 and the mechanisms that might underlie its target gene specificity.