Long noncoding RNAs: p53’s secret weapon in the fight against cancer?

by Emily Dangelmaier, Sarah B. Lazar, Ashish Lal

p53 regulates the expression of hundreds of genes. Recent surprising observations indicate that no single protein-coding gene controls the tumor suppressor effects of p53. This raises the possibility that a subset of these genes, regulated by a p53-induced long noncoding RNA (lncRNA), could control p53’s tumor suppressor function. We propose molecular mechanisms through which lncRNAs could regulate this subset of genes and hypothesize an exciting, direct role of lncRNAs in p53’s genome stability maintenance function. Exploring these mechanisms could reveal lncRNAs as indispensable mediators of p53 and lay the foundation for understanding how other transcription factors could act via lncRNAs.

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