The role of p53 in glucose metabolism
The p53 protein functions to prevent tumour development by inhibiting the outgrowth of stressed or damaged cells. In addition to well established functions to block cell proliferation, recent studies have revealed a role for p53 in the regulation of pathways involved in glucose metabolism. The metabolic functions of p53 resist the shift to glycolysis that is characteristically seen in cancers, and also help cells adapt to and survive limited periods of metabolic stress. Such activities of p53 would not only help to prevent cancer development, but might also contribute to non-tumour related roles for p53, such as in the regulation of longevity. These new functions of p53 are providing interesting possibilities for the development of novel therapies.