ASPP2: a gene that controls life and death in vivo.
Vives V., Slee EA., Lu X.
The fundamental role of apoptosis in tumor prevention and the important role of p53 in this process are now universally recognized. Recently, several families of p53-binding proteins have been shown to influence p53's decision to direct the cells either into the apoptotic pathway or in cell cycle arrest. Among them, the ASPP family specifically regulate p53-dependent apoptosis. Its member ASPP2 was discovered more than 10 years ago as a binding partner of p53 and its role as a positive regulator of p53 mediated apoptosis has been clearly established in vitro. However, its physiological importance in vivo has just emerged through the generation and characterisation of the ASPP2-deficient mice. We now know that ASPP2 is a haploinsufficient tumor suppressor and an important activator of p53 during mouse development and tumor suppression in vivo. ASPP2 might be a novel target for future cancer therapy.