Amyloidogenicity of p53: A hidden link between protein misfolding and cancer

Hao Gong, Xin Yang, Yudan Zhao, Robert B. Petersen, Xinran Liu, Yang Liu, Kun Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Pathogenic aggregation is closely associated with various protein misfolding diseases such as type 2 diabetes mellitus and Alzheimer's disease. Amyloidogenic proteins that have a propensity to assemble into amyloid oligomers and fibrils form the aggregates. The tumor suppressor p53, a transcription factor that regulates the cell cycle and apoptosis, is also amyloidogenic. In tumor models, both wild type and mutant p53 proteins show aggregation kinetics and morphology similar to those of classical amyloidogenic proteins, such as β-amyloid peptide and α-synuclein. Wild type p53 loses its anticancer activity when it aggregates, while p53 mutants with enhanced amyloidogenicity show accelerated aggregation. So far, amyloidogenic p53 mutations have been implicated in more than ten different types of cancer, suggesting a connection between p53 aggregation and cancer. Therefore, inhibition of both inherent and mutation induced p53 aggregation may stabilize p53 in a functional conformation and provide a novel approach to cancer prevention and treatment. Here, we summarize recent findings on carcinogenic aggregation of wild type p53 and its clinical mutants, structure-dependent amyloidogenesis of p53, and several promising strategies based on inhibition of p53 aggregation are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-146
Number of pages12
JournalCurrent Protein and Peptide Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2015


  • Amyloid
  • Cancer
  • Mutant p53
  • P53
  • Protein aggregation


Dive into the research topics of 'Amyloidogenicity of p53: A hidden link between protein misfolding and cancer'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this