Examination of the expanding pathways for the regulation of p21 expression and activity

Cell Signal. 2010 Jul;22(7):1003-12. doi: 10.1016/j.cellsig.2010.01.013. Epub 2010 Jan 25.


p21(Waf1/Cip1/Sdi1) was originally identified as an inhibitor of cyclin-dependent kinases, a mediator of p53 in growth suppression and a marker of cellular senescence. p21 is required for proper cell cycle progression and plays a role in cell death, DNA repair, senescence and aging, and induced pluripotent stem cell reprogramming. Although transcriptional regulation is considered to be the initial control point for p21 expression, there is growing evidence that post-transcriptional and post-translational regulations play a critical role in p21 expression and activity. This review will briefly discuss the activity of p21 and focus on current knowledge of the determinants that control p21 transcription, mRNA stability and translation, and protein stability and activity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p21 / genetics*
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p21 / metabolism*
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p21 / physiology
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Humans
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p21
  • RNA, Messenger