Editors' ChoiceApoptosis

Worming Secrets Out of p53

Science's STKE  23 Oct 2001:
Vol. 2001, Issue 105, pp. tw388
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2001.105.tw388

The p53 tumor suppressor gene is among the most frequently mutated genes in human cancer. Although much has been learned about p53 from studies of mammalian cells, progress in understanding its function and regulation has been hampered by the lack of a genetically accessible system. Derry et al. have identified a p53 homolog in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, an organism previously thought to be devoid of p53. This gene, cep-1, functions in apoptosis and meiotic chromosome segregation in the germ line and mediates responses to environmental stress in somatic cells. The genetic potential offered by the C. elegans system is likely to lead to new insights into p53 and other cancer-related genes.

W. B. Derry, A. P. Putzke, J. H. Rothman, Caenorhabditis elegans p53: Role in apoptosis, meiosis, and stress resistance. Science 294, 591-595 (2001). [Abstract] [Full Text]