Tumor protein p53 (TP53) is the most commonly mutated gene in human cancer. The majority of mutations are missense, and generate a defective protein that is druggable. Yet, for decades, the small-molecule restoration of wild-type (WT) p53 function in mutant p53 tumors (so-called p53 mutant 'reactivation') has been elusive to researchers. The p53 protein requires the binding of a single zinc ion for proper folding, and impairing zinc binding is a major mechanism for loss of function in missense mutant p53. Here, we describe recent work defining a new class of drugs termed zinc metallochaperones that restore WT p53 structure and function by restoring Zn(2+) to Zn(2+)-deficient mutant p53.
Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Ltd.