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Protein TP73L PDB 1rg6.png
Available structures
PDBOrtholog search: PDBe RCSB
AliasesTP63, AIS, B(p51A), B(p51B), EEC3, KET, LMS, NBP, OFC8, RHS, SHFM4, TP53CP, TP53L, TP73L, p40, p51, p53CP, p63, p73H, p73L, tumor protein p63
External IDsOMIM: 603273 MGI: 1330810 HomoloGene: 31189 GeneCards: TP63
RefSeq (mRNA)
RefSeq (protein)
Location (UCSC)Chr 3: 189.63 – 189.9 MbChr 16: 25.5 – 25.71 Mb
PubMed search[3][4]
View/Edit HumanView/Edit Mouse

Tumor protein p63, typically referred to as p63, also known as transformation-related protein 63 is a protein that in humans is encoded by the TP63 (also known as the p63) gene.[5][6][7][8]

The TP63 gene was discovered 20 years after the discovery of the p53 tumor suppressor gene and along with p73 constitutes the p53 gene family based on their structural similarity.[9] Despite being discovered significantly later than p53, phylogenetic analysis of p53, p63 and p73, suggest that p63 was the original member of the family from which p53 and p73 evolved.[10]


Tumor protein p63 is a member of the p53 family of transcription factors. p63 -/- mice have several developmental defects which include the lack of limbs and other tissues, such as teeth and mammary glands, which develop as a result of interactions between mesenchyme and epithelium. TP63 encodes for two main isoforms by alternative promoters (TAp63 and ΔNp63). ΔNp63 is involved in multiple functions during skin development and in adult stem/progenitor cell regulation.[11] In contrast, TAp63 has been mostly restricted to its apoptotic function and more recently as the guardian of oocyte integrity.[12] Recently, two new functions have been attributed to TAp63 in heart development[13] and premature aging.[14]

In mice, p63 is required for normal skin development via direct transcription of the membrane protein PERP. TP63 can also regulate PERP expression with TP53 in human cancer.[15]

Clinical significance[edit]

At least 42 disease-causing mutations in this gene have been discovered.[16] TP63 mutations underlie several malformation syndromes that include cleft lip and/or palate as a hallmark feature.[17] Mutations in the TP63 gene are associated with ectrodactyly-ectodermal dysplasia-cleft syndrome in which a midline cleft lip is a common feature,[17] cleft lip/palate syndrome 3 (EEC3); ectrodactyly (also known as split-hand/foot malformation 4 (SHFM4)); ankyloblepharon-ectodermal dysplasia-cleft lip/palate (AEC) or Hay–Wells syndrome in which a midline cleft lip is also a common feature,[17] Acro–dermato–ungual–lacrimal–tooth syndrome (ADULT); limb-mammary syndrome; Rap-Hodgkin syndrome (RHS); and orofacial cleft 8.

p63 staining on prostate cancer tissue using antibody clone IHC063

Both cleft lip with or without a cleft palate and cleft palate only features have been seen to segregate within the same family with a TP63 mutation.[17] Recently, induced pluripotent stem cells have been produced from patients affected by EEC syndromes by cell reprogramming. The defective epithelial commitment could be partially rescued by a small therapeutic compound.[18]

Molecular mechanism[edit]

Transcription factor p63 is a key regulator of epidermal keratinocyte proliferation and differentiation. In a recent study, researchers used EEC-patient-derived skin keratinocytes carrying heterozygous p63 DNA-binding domain mutations as the cellular model to characterize the global gene regulatory alteration. The epidermal cell identity was compromised in p63 mutant keratinocytes. Besides, p63-binding loss and loss of active enhancers occurs at a genome-wide scale in patient keratinocytes carrying heterozygous EEC mutations. [19] Besides, using a multi-omics approach, the deregulated function of DNA loops mediated by p63 and CTCF represents an additional layer to the disease mechanism. It seems that a number of loci nearby epidermal genes were organized into a ‘regulatory chromatin hub’ within the chromatin interactions, mediated by CTCF in epidermal keratinocytes. Such hubs contain multiple connecting DNA loops that require not only CTCF binding that is rather static but also binding of cell type-specific TFs, like p63, for the transcriptional activity. In this model, p63 may be essential to make the DNA loops active in transcription. [20]

Vulvar cancer[edit]

TP63 has been observed overexpressed in Vulvar Squamous Cell Carcinoma samples, in association with hypermethylation-Induced inactivation of the IRF6 tumor suppressor gene. [21] Indeed, mRNA levels of TP63 tested higher in Vulvar cancer samples when compared with those of normal skin and preneoplastic vulvar lesions, thus underscoring an epigenetic cross-link between IRF6 gene and the oncogene TP63. [21]

Diagnostic utility[edit]

p63 immunostaining has utility for head and neck squamous cell carcinomas, differentiating prostatic adenocarcinoma (the most common type of prostate cancer) and benign prostatic tissue;[22] normal prostatic glands stain with p63 (as they have basal cells), while the malignant glands in prostatic adenocarcinoma (which lacks these cells) do not.[23] P63 is also helpful in distinguishing poorly differentiated squamous cell carcinoma from small cell carcinoma or adenocarcinoma. P63 should be strongly stained in poorly differentiated squamous cell, but negative in small cell or adenocarcinoma.[24]


TP63 has been shown to interact with HNRPAB.[25] It also activates IRF6 transcription through the IRF6 enhancer element.[17]


There is some evidence that the expression of p63 is regulated by the microRNA miR-203[26][27] and USP28 at protein level [28][29]

See also[edit]

  • AMACR - another marker for prostate adenocarcinoma


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  2. ^ a b c GRCm38: Ensembl release 89: ENSMUSG00000022510 - Ensembl, May 2017
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  4. ^ "Mouse PubMed Reference:". National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine.
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  9. ^ Wu G, Nomoto S, Hoque MO, Dracheva T, Osada M, Lee CC, et al. (May 2003). "DeltaNp63alpha and TAp63alpha regulate transcription of genes with distinct biological functions in cancer and development". Cancer Research. 63 (10): 2351–7. PMID 12750249.
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  18. ^ Shalom-Feuerstein R, Serror L, Aberdam E, Müller FJ, van Bokhoven H, Wiman KG, et al. (February 2013). "Impaired epithelial differentiation of induced pluripotent stem cells from ectodermal dysplasia-related patients is rescued by the small compound APR-246/PRIMA-1MET". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 110 (6): 2152–6. Bibcode:2013PNAS..110.2152S. doi:10.1073/pnas.1201753109. PMC 3568301. PMID 23355677.
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  20. ^ Qu J, Yi G, Zhou H (June 2019). "p63 cooperates with CTCF to modulate chromatin architecture in skin keratinocytes". Epigenetics & Chromatin. 12 (1): 31. doi:10.1186/s13072-019-0280-y. PMC 6547520. PMID 31164150.
  21. ^ a b Rotondo JC, Borghi A, Selvatici R, Magri E, Bianchini E, Montinari E, et al. (August 2016). "Hypermethylation-Induced Inactivation of the IRF6 Gene as a Possible Early Event in Progression of Vulvar Squamous Cell Carcinoma Associated With Lichen Sclerosus". JAMA Dermatology. 152 (8): 928–33. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2016.1336. PMID 27223861.
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Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]