Int. J. Dev. Biol. 59: 87 - 93 (2015)
doi: 10.1387/ijdb.150045sg
© UPV/EHU Press

P63 in health and cancer

Stefania Gonfloni*, Valerio Caputo and Valentina Iannizzotto

Department of Biology, University of Rome "Tor Vergata", Rome, Italy

ABSTRACT TP63 is the most ancient member of the p53 gene family. The p53 family comprises three transcription factors (p53/p63/p73). They share a high degree of homology and similar domain structure. Yet, they can exist as truncated isoforms. Alternative promoters and splicing sites lead to the generation of several molecules. P53/p63/p73 are important to maintain cell homeostasis. P63 and p73 regulate many p53 target genes. This is due to their common structural features. Both proteins may compensate the loss of p53. This is a common event occurring in more than 50% of malignancies. Yet, p63 (or p73) has its own role. Studies from p63-null mice have shown the key role of p63 in embryo development. Several reports have supported the p63 role in epidermal development and in skin homeostasis. P63 involvement in heart development is currently being researched. Recent studies have found p63 to be “the guardian of human reproduction”. In addition, p63 has an important, even controversial, role in cancer. Here, we provide a general overview of p63 regulation and activity. We discuss emerging concepts about its role in germ line protection, metabolism and cancer.


p63, genome stability, DNA damage response, metabolism, cancer

*Corresponding author e-mail: