COLD SPRING HARBOR, N.Y. (June 23, 2010) -- The p53 tumor suppressor gene, the "guardian of the genome," protects cells against genotoxic stress but is mutated in many cancers. It encodes one of a family of proteins that regulate cell proliferation, differentiation, senescence, and cell death. Mutations in p53 allow cells to escape normal growth controls and thereby contribute to tumor malignancy.
A new book from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, The p53 Family, provides a comprehensive review of the functions of the p53 family. It was edited by Arnold Levine and David Lane, who independently discovered p53 about 30 years ago.
"We hope that by bringing together a unique gathering of experts this volume will provide a great introduction to the field for newcomers to the p53 family and a starting off point for vigorous debate among the converted," write Levine and Lane in the preface to the book. "The many unknowns in this system that are detailed and discussed in this volume provide us all with inspiration for future work."
In 23 chapters, the contributors examine the normal roles of these transcription factors, the regulatory mechanisms that control p53 activity, and the part played by p53 mutations in tumorigenesis. They also discuss the evolution of the p53 family, which may originally have arisen to protect the integrity of the germ line.
The p53 Family also covers the structure of p53 and its isoforms, model systems for analyzing p53 function, studies of p53 polymorphisms, and therapeutic approaches aimed at targeting p53 defects in cancer.