The gene Wrap53 controls the action of p53, according to scientists at the Karolinska Institutet. They also explains how antisense RNA regulates genes in the human body, a finding that reveals a regulatory pathway for controlling p53 and also offers a general mechanism for antisense-mediated gene regulation in human cells.
Researchers found that Wrap53 gives rise to antisense RNA, which is necessary for the production of sufficient quantities of p53 protein in the event of DNA damage. Thus damage to Wrap53 can indirectly cause cancer.
“Mutations in the p53 gene contribute to about half of all cancer cases,” says Marianne Farnebo, Ph.D., in the department of oncology-pathology at the Karolinska Institutet. “In the remaining half, p53 is probably inactivated in other ways such as damage to Wrap53 knocking out the production of the p53 protein.”
The article appears in the February 27 online edition of Molecular Cell.