p53 tumor suppressor has been identified as a protein interacting with the large T antigen produced by simian vacuolating virus 40 (SV40). Subsequent research on p53 inhibition by SV40 and other tumor viruses has not only helped to gain a better understanding of viral biology, but also shaped our knowledge of human tumorigenesis. Recent studies have found, however, that inhibition of p53 is not strictly in the realm of viruses. Some bacterial pathogens also actively inhibit p53 protein and induce its degradation, resulting in alteration of cellular stress responses. This phenomenon was initially characterized in gastric epithelial cells infected with Helicobacter pylori, a bacterial pathogen that commonly infects the human stomach and is strongly linked to gastric cancer. Besides H. pylori, a number of other bacterial species were recently discovered to inhibit p53. These findings provide novel insights into host–bacteria interactions and tumorigenesis associated with bacterial infections.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology