Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, Vol.331, No.3, 701-706, 2005
P53 - A pro-apoptotic signal transducer involved in AIDS
P53 is a well-characterized tumor suppressor protein, which can induce apoptosis, either by inducing transcription of pro-apoptotic genes or by direct effects on mitochondrial membranes. Roughly 50% of human cancers are affected by the genetic or epigenetic inactivation of p53. Recently, p53 has been incriminated to play a cardinal role in the destruction of the immune system by human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1) infection. This suspicion is based on several lines of evidence: (i) p53 exhibits activating phosphorylations in-a subset of peripheral blood mononuclear cells and lymph node cells from HIV-1 carriers; (ii) some p53 target genes (e.g., PUMA, a pro-apoptotic member of the Bcl-2 family) are overexpressed in HIV-1 carriers; (iii) in vitro, p53 and/or PUMA are rate-limiting for the induction of cell death by HIV-1 infection or, in particular, by the HIV-1 Envelope (Env), in a variety of model systems, including the apoptosis of syncytia elicited by Env or cell death induced by the Env constituent gp120. Thus, p53 may constitute a novel therapeutic target for the treatment of AIDS. © 2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.