Mdm2 and MDMX are two structurally related p53-binding proteins which show the highest level of sequence similarity in the N-terminal p53-binding domains. Apart from its ability to inhibit p53 mediated transcription, a feature it shares with mdm2, very little is known about the physiological functions of MDMX. It is clearly distinct from mdm2 since its expression appears not to be regulated by p53 and it cannot compensate for lack of mdm2 in early development. We present data on the structural similarity between the p53 binding pockets of mdm2 and MDMX using p53- and phage-selected peptides. From the results we conclude that our recently devised innovative approach to reverse the mdm2-mediated inhibition of p53's transactivation function in vivo would probably target MDMX as well. Strategies for selectively targeting mdm2 and MDMX are suggested and a possible mechanism for regulating the p53-mdm2/MDMX interactions by protein phosphorylation is discussed.