Publications - Published papers

Please find below publications of our group. Currently, we list 54 papers. Some of the publications are in collaboration with the group of Peter Stadler and are also listed in the publication list for his group. Access to published papers (access) is restricted to our local network and chosen collaborators.
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The transcription factor p53: Not a repressor, solely an activator

Martin Fischer, Lydia Steiner, Kurt Engeland


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Cell Cycle 13:19, 3037--3058


The predominant function of the tumor suppressor p53 is transcriptional regulation. It is generally accepted that p53-dependent transcriptional activation occurs by binding to a specific recognition site in promoters of target genes. Additionally, several models for p53-dependent transcriptional repression have been postulated. Here, we evaluate these models based on a computational meta-analysis of genome-wide data. Surprisingly, several major models of p53-dependent gene regulation are implausible. Meta-analysis of large-scale data is unable to confirm reports on directly repressed p53 target genes and falsifies models of direct repression. This notion is supported by experimental re-analysis of representative genes reported as directly repressed by p53. Therefore, p53 is not a direct repressor of transcription, but solely activates its target genes. Moreover, models based on interference of p53 with activating transcription factors as well as models based on the function of ncRNAs are also not supported by the meta-analysis. As an alternative to models of direct repression, the meta-analysis leads to the conclusion that p53 represses transcription indirectly by activation of the p53-p21-DREAM/RB pathway.