p53 and the Viral Connection: Back into the Future

Cancers (Basel). 2018 Jun 4;10(6):178. doi: 10.3390/cancers10060178.


The discovery of the tumor suppressor p53, through its interactions with proteins of tumor-promoting viruses, paved the way to the understanding of p53 roles in tumor virology. Over the years, accumulating data suggest that WTp53 is involved in the viral life cycle of non-tumor-promoting viruses as well. These include the influenza virus, smallpox and vaccinia viruses, the Zika virus, West Nile virus, Japanese encephalitis virus, Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1, Human herpes simplex virus-1, and more. Viruses have learned to manipulate WTp53 through different strategies to improve their replication and spreading in a stage-specific, bidirectional way. While some viruses require active WTp53 for efficient viral replication, others require reduction/inhibition of WTp53 activity. A better understanding of WTp53 functionality in viral life may offer new future clinical approaches, based on WTp53 manipulation, for viral infections.

Keywords: HIV-1; HSV-1; SV40; cancer; influenza; p53; papilloma; vaccinia; virus; zika.

Publication types

  • Review