Transcriptional activation by p53 correlates with suppression of growth but not transformation

Cell. 1994 Dec 2;79(5):817-27. doi: 10.1016/0092-8674(94)90071-x.


The tumor suppressor protein p53 shows growth and transformation suppression functions that are frequently lost by mutant proteins detected in cancers. Using a large series of p53 mutants, we have demonstrated an excellent correlation between transcriptional activation and growth suppression in p53-null human cells. Not all transcriptionally active mutants retain the ability to suppress transformation in primary rodent cells, however, and two tumor-derived point mutants displayed some evidence of both transforming and transactivating activity. Transformation by these mutants was not mediated by transdominant repression of endogenous p53 transactivating function, and cell lines expressing these p53 proteins showed elevated p53 transcriptional activity. Our results suggest that activation of transcriptional regulation by p53 will not necessarily result in tumor suppression.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Division / genetics*
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / genetics*
  • Fibroblasts
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Humans
  • Mutation
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Osteosarcoma
  • Rats
  • Recombinant Proteins / metabolism
  • Transcription, Genetic*
  • Transcriptional Activation
  • Transfection
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / genetics*


  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53