The role of the 5' terminal region of p53 mRNA in the p53 gene expression

  • Agata Swiatkowska
  • Paulina Żydowicz
  • Joanna Sroka
  • Jerzy Ciesiołka Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry, Polish Academy of Sciences
Keywords: p53, transcription, translation, non-coding region, mRNA, IRES


The p53 tumour suppressor protein is one of the major factors responsible for cell cycle regulation and protection against cancer development. Which is why it is often referred to as “the guardian of the genome”. On the other hand, mutations in the p53 gene are connected with more than 50% of tumours of various types. The thirty-six years of extensive research into the p53 gene and its protein products have shown how sophisticated the p53-based cell system control is. An additional level of complexity of the p53 research is connected with at least twelve p53 isoforms which have been identified in the cell. Importantly, disturbance of the p53 isoforms expression seems to play a key role in tumorigenesis, cell differentiation and cell response to pathogenic bacteria and RNA and DNA viruses. Expression of various p53 isoforms results from the usage of different transcription promotors, alternative splicing events and translation initiation from alternative AUG codons. The importance of the 5'-terminal regions of different p53 mRNA transcripts in the multi-level regulation of the p53 gene has recently been documented. In this review we focus on the structural features of these regions and their specific role in the p53 translation initiation process.