\ 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 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 The best known is the gene for a protein called p53, which stops cells from reproducing if their DNA is damaged. The Economist, "A cell among trillionsUnderstanding cancer’s unruly origins helps early diagnosis," 16 Sep. 2017 Studies published in October say elephant DNA holds 20 copies of p53, an important tumor-suppressing gene, compared to only one in the DNA of humans and other mammals. Alex Brandon, National Geographic, "Ringling Will Retire Circus Elephants Two Years Earlier Than Planned," 11 Jan. 2016 The researchers put human BRAF and P53 genes in every melanocyte, the pigmented skin cells, of the fish. Gina Kolata, New York Times, "A Single Cell Shines New Light on How Cancers Develop," 28 Jan. 2016

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about p53

Statistics for p53

Cite this Entry

“P53.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/p53. Accessed 28 Feb. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on p53

What made you want to look up p53? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

February 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • squirrel in winter
  • Which is a synonym of probity?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!