It is estimated that up to 90% of human protein-coding genes express multiple protein isoforms due to alternative promoters, splicing and initiation of translation thus increasing the coding capacity of the human genome.
Like most genes, several p53 protein isoforms are produced by the tumour suppressor TP53 gene. p53 isoforms have been described since the very early days of p53 research; however, it is only during the past eight years that they have become the focus of systematic research. Undoubtedly, one of the main triggers for this expanding interest is the fact that p63 and p73, the two homologues of p53 discovered in the late 1990s, are expressed as multiple protein isoforms with specific expression patterns and distinct biological functions.
In recent years, about ten p53 protein isoforms have been identified, and studies have accumulated demonstrating that p53 isoforms are involved in a wide range of biological functions and pathologies. In addition, p53 protein isoforms also include polymorphic variants due to single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the TP53 gene, such as the codon 72 (R72P). The description of the p53 protein isoforms opens up a broad new area for understanding the diversity of p53 functions.
The First International p53 Isoforms Meeting will provide a multi-disciplinary forum for researchers involved in p53 isoforms and for all those interested in their biological and pathological significance. The main topics to be addressed include:
- Lessons from animal models
- Genetic and epigenetic control of p53 isoform expression
- Biological functions in cell model systems
- Identification and characterization of p53 isoforms
- Involvement of p53 isoforms in human diseases.
The meeting will also offer opportunities for specialist debates on essential technical issues:
- Panels of available animal models for p53 isoforms expression studies
- Methods for detection of p53 isoforms
- Cell standards for detection and measuring variations in p53 isoform expression
- Immunological definition of p53 isoforms
- Approaches for analysing p53 isoform dysregulation in human diseases, including human cancers, and for compiling this information into public databases.
With this meeting, we hope to stimulate research on p53 isoforms and encourage collaboration.
This meeting is a joint IARC/DKFZ initiative, which will focus on discussions and the critical evaluation of epidemiology, immunology and biology of cancer-associated viruses. The meeting programme emphasises new HPV-related cancers, and newly discovered human polyomaviruses, although advances concerning other pathogens will be incorporated as they arise.