\ ˌpē-ˌfif-tē-ˈthrē How to pronounce p53 (audio) \

Definition of p53

: a tumor suppressor gene that in an inactivated form tends to be associated with a high risk of certain cancers

Examples of p53 in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Vousden unexpectedly veered into that line of research while studying a cancer-preventing gene called p53. Jocelyn Kaiser, Science | AAAS, "Special diets might boost the power of drugs to vanquish cancers," 1 Apr. 2021 But the same mutation seemed to have the opposite effect in the small intestine: mutant p53 actually prevented tumors from growing. Hannah Seo, Popular Science, "Gut bacteria might flip the effects of a common cancer-causing mutation in an unexpected way," 20 Aug. 2020 Zwaka’s group made mouse embryonic stem cells (ESCs) with a supercompetitor mutation that lowered expression of p53, an important quality-control protein that normally puts the brakes on cell division. Kendall Powell, Scientific American, "Survival of the Fittest Cells," 22 Jan. 2020 Yet extra copies of p53 are not the elephants’ only source of protection. Quanta Magazine, "A Zombie Gene Protects Elephants From Cancer," 7 Nov. 2017 Although p53 mutations greatly increase the risk of cancer, the findings are a reason to be cautious and not for full-blown alarm. Fox News, "Futuristic gene-editing technology may cause cancer," 13 June 2018 However, inhibition of p53 leaves the cell transiently vulnerable to the introduction of chromosomal rearrangements and other tumorigenic mutations. Sharon Begley, STAT, "Archived chat: last week in CRISPR — cancer, patents, and a dip in the market," 19 June 2018 The reason why that could be a problem is that p53 dysfunction can cause cancer. Sharon Begley, STAT, "A serious new hurdle for CRISPR: Edited cells might cause cancer, find two studies," 11 June 2018 In 2015, Schiffman found that elephants have 20 copies of a gene called p53, well known for its ability to fix damaged DNA, which can lead to cancer. NBC News, "Why don't elephants get cancer? New gene study explains," 7 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'p53.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of p53

1990, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for p53

from p53, the protein made by the gene, from protein + 53, the gene's molecular weight

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Statistics for p53

Last Updated

8 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“P53.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/p53. Accessed 21 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for p53


\ ˌpē-ˌfif-tē-ˈthrē How to pronounce p53 (audio) \

Medical Definition of p53

: a tumor suppressor gene that in a defective form tends to be associated with a high risk of certain cancers (as of the colon, lung, and breast)

More from Merriam-Webster on p53

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about p53

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