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Volume 50, Number 6, December 2017

The p53 gene with emphasis on its paralogues in mosquitoes 

Tien-Huang Chen, Yi-Jun Wu, Jiun-Nan Hou, Cheng-Hsun Chiu, Wei-June Chen


Corresponding author:

Wei-June Chen, Corresponding author. Departments of Public Health and Parasitology, Chang Gung University, Kwei-San, Tao-Yuan 33332, Taiwan. Fax: +886 3 2118408. 


Background and purpose: 

The p53 gene is highly important in human cancers, as it serves as a tumor-suppressor gene. Subsequently, two p53 homologues, i.e., p73 and p63, with high identity of amino acids were identified, leading to construction of the p53 family. The p53 gene is highly important in human cancer because it usually transcribes genes that function by causing apoptosis in mammalian cells. In contrast, p63 and p73 tend to be more important in modulating development than inducing cell death, even though they share similar protein structures. Relatively recently, p53 was also identified in mosquitoes and many other insect species. Uniquely, its structure lacks the sterile alpha motif domain which is a putative protein-protein interaction domain and exclusively exists at the C-terminal region in p73 and p63 in mammals. A phylogenetic analysis revealed that the p53 gene derived from mosquitoes is composed of two paralogues, p53-1 and p53-2. Of these, only p53-2 is responsively upregulated by dengue 2 virus (DENV2) in C6/36 cells which usually survive the infection. This indicates that the p53 gene is closely related to DENV infection in mosquito cells. The specific significance of p53-2's involvement in cell survival from virus-induced stress is described and briefly discussed in this report. 


Key words:

p53 homologue, Paralogue, Mosquitoes, Phylogeny, Cell survival