Lesson 6: P53 Copy Copy

TP53 is a “tumor suppressor gene” in cells which produces a protein called p53. It is a tumor inhibitor which triggers apoptosis in abnormal cells, such as cancer cells. It has been said that p53 protein is the ultimate tumor suppressor in the human body, and that a cell which has normal p53 will not become cancerous. Normal p53 activity is called “wild-type” p53 activity. It is believed that some disruption of p53 is needed for cancer to develop. Apoptosis is a process of genetically programmed cell death. In this way, cells can self-destruct. This can occur when the cell is no longer needed by the body, when the cell is abnormal and threatens the survival of the organism, and during daily body maintenance. Apoptosis balances proliferation, which is the continued production of new cells. During apoptosis the cells shrivel and pull away from other cells. The nucleus condenses as DNA is destroyed. The left-over parts of the cell are recycled by other cells. This process is a clean way for cells to die without harming adjacent cells. Impaired apoptosis or inhibition of apoptosis is a threat to the organism, such as in cancer. Proliferation is the process of division of cells to replace dying cells from apoptosis. Most tissues have two sets of cells. There is a set of proliferating cells which can divide to replace daily and emergency cell loss. The second set is mature cells produced by the proliferating cells with a limited life span. Cancer cells are normal tissue cells which have gained in some way the ability to proliferate. This proliferation can continue rapidly without stopping until the specific organ has been damaged or the tumor spreads throughout the body and death of the organism results. If the p53 protein is mutated, cells may not respond to the trigger to die and may proliferate, becoming cancerous. Mutated p53 may be a worse situation than having no p53. Mutated p53 may actually promote the development of cancer. Zinc is needed for normal “wild-type” p53 activity. When cells have mutated p53 activity, “wild-type” activity can be promoted by the addition of zinc. A number of natural products, mostly from plants have been studied which promote normal p53. Many different plant components have been studied which act against p53 abnormalities in specific tumor activity.

The following is a list of natural treatments to increase normal p53 activity:

Artemisia genus plants contain jaceosidin.
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera).
Bamboo (Phyllostachys edulis).
Black seed oil (Nigella sativa).
Brussels sprouts (Cruciferous fam.) contains sulforaphane.
Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) contains apigenin.
Cordyceps (Cordyceps militaris).
EGCG from green tea (Camilla sinensis).
Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) contains parthenolide.
Ginger (Zingiber officinale) contains 6-Gingerol.
Goldenseal and Oregon grape holly contain berberine.
Red grapes and wine (Vitis vinifera) contain resveratrol.
Soy (Soya) and other plants contain genistein.
Turmeric (Curcuma longa) contains several chemicals.
Vitex (Vitex agnus castus) with vitexin.

p53 plays a key role in tumor suppression. The tumor suppressive function of p53 has long been attributed to its ability to induce apoptosis, cell cycle arrest, and senescence in cells. However, recent studies suggest that other functions of p53 also contribute to its role as a tumor suppressor, such as its function in metabolic regulation. p53 regulates various metabolic pathways to maintain the metabolic homeostasis of cells and adapt cells to stress.