The role of p53 as the "guardian of the genome" in differentiated somatic cells, triggering various biological processes, is well established. Recent studies in the stem cell field have highlighted a profound role of p53 in stem cell biology as well. These studies, combined with basic data obtained 20 years ago, provide insight into how p53 governs the quantity and quality of various stem cells, ensuring a sufficient repertoire of normal stem cells to enable proper development, tissue regeneration and a cancer free life. In this review we address the role of p53 in genomically stable embryonic stem cells, a unique predisposed cancer stem cell model and adult stem cells, its role in the generation of induced pluripotent stem cells, as well as its role as the barrier to cancer stem cell formation.
Keywords: Cancer stem cells; Loss of heterozygosity; Stem cells; Tumorigenesis; p53.
Copyright © 2014 Federation of European Biochemical Societies. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.