Transcriptional and epigenetic regulation of the p53 tumor suppressor gene

Epigenetics. 2011 Sep 1;6(9):1068-77. doi: 10.4161/epi.6.9.16683. Epub 2011 Sep 1.


The p53 tumor suppressor is one of the most studied molecules in cancer research. Despite the fact that there is a detailed understanding involving multiple aspects of the p53-associated biology, many aspects of its transcriptional regulation are still not well clarified. Limited information is available on how the p53 gene is transcriptional and epigenetically regulated. The p53 gene expression is tightly controlled through a variety of transcription factors, miRNAs, its anti-sense RNA Wrap53, the insulator protein CTCF and very likely by other genetic and epigenetic mechanisms. It's the intent of this article to review in depth important aspects concerning the transcriptional regulation of the p53 gene and perhaps serve as a stepping-stone to begin a conceptual change on how future p53 research can be approached.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CCCTC-Binding Factor
  • Chromatin Assembly and Disassembly
  • DNA Methylation
  • Epigenesis, Genetic*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • Genes, p53*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • MicroRNAs / genetics
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism
  • Molecular Chaperones
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • RNA, Antisense / genetics
  • RNA, Antisense / metabolism
  • Repressor Proteins / genetics
  • Repressor Proteins / metabolism
  • Telomerase / genetics
  • Telomerase / metabolism
  • Transcription, Genetic*
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / genetics
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / metabolism


  • CCCTC-Binding Factor
  • CTCF protein, human
  • Ctcf protein, mouse
  • MicroRNAs
  • Molecular Chaperones
  • RNA, Antisense
  • Repressor Proteins
  • TP53 protein, human
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53
  • Telomerase
  • WRAP53 protein, human