All living organisms have developed processes to sense and address environmental changes to maintain a stable internal state (homeostasis). When activated, the p53 tumour suppressor maintains cell and organ integrity and functions in response to homeostasis disruptors (stresses) such as infection, metabolic alterations and cellular damage. Thus, p53 plays a fundamental physiological role in maintaining organismal homeostasis. The TP53 gene encodes a network of proteins (p53 isoforms) with similar and distinct biochemical functions. The p53 network carries out multiple biological activities enabling cooperation between individual cells required for long-term survival of multicellular organisms (animals) in response to an ever-changing environment caused by mutation, infection, metabolic alteration or damage. In this review, we suggest that the p53 network has evolved as an adaptive response to pathogen infections and other environmental selection pressures.
- immune response
- p53 isoforms