How p53 molecules solve the target DNA search problem: A review

Kiyoto Kamagata, Yuji Itoh, Dwiky Rendra Graha Subekti

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Interactions between DNA and DNA-binding proteins play an important role in many essential cellular processes. A key function of the DNA-binding protein p53 is to search for and bind to target sites incorporated in genomic DNA, which triggers transcriptional regulation. How do p53 molecules achieve “rapid” and “accurate” target search in living cells? The search dynamics of p53 were expected to include 3D diffusion in solution, 1D diffusion along DNA, and intersegmental transfer between two different DNA strands. Single-molecule fluorescence microscopy enabled the tracking of p53 molecules on DNA and the characterization of these dynamics quantitatively. Recent intensive single-molecule studies of p53 succeeded in revealing each of these search dynamics. Here, we review these studies and discuss the target search mechanisms of p53.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1031
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Feb 1


  • DNA
  • Diffusion
  • Intersegmental transfer
  • P53
  • Single molecule fluorescence microscopy
  • Sliding
  • Target search

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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