Journal of photochemistry and photobiology. B, Biology vol:63 issue:1-3 pages:78-83
p53 is a tumor suppressor gene and mutation of p53 is a frequent event in skin cancer. The wild-type p53 encodes for a 53-kD phosphoprotein that plays a pivotal role in regulating cell growth and cell death. The wt-p53 gene is also called "guardian of the genome", for its role in preventing the accumulation of genetic alterations, observed in cancer cells. The wild-type p53 protein plays a central role in the response of the cell to DNA damage. UV, present in sunlight, is one of the most ubiquitously present DNA damage inducing stress conditions to which skin cells are exposed. The wt-p53 protein accumulates in human skin cells in vitro and in human skin in vivo upon UV irradiation. This upregulation mounts a protective response against permanent DNA damage through transactivation of either cell cycle arrest genes and DNA repair genes or genes that mediate the apoptotic response. The molecular events which regulate the activity of the wt-p53 protein activity are only beginning to be described.