Immunohistochemical analysis of the p53 protein in human glioblastomas with known genetic profiles of p53 mutations and allele losses on chromosome 17p demonstrated a heterogeneous pattern of subcellular compartmentalization of the p53 protein. Tumors with a single wild type copy of the p53 gene but with allelic deletions on chromosome 17p exhibit nuclear and/or cytoplasmic accumulation of p53, whereas tumors with both copies of the wild type gene and no allele losses on chromosome 17 do not accumulate p53. Glioblastomas with one normal and one mutated copy of the p53 gene and allelic deletions on 17p distal to p53, on the other hand, show predominantly cytoplasmic staining, probably originating from the wild type p53 protein. Furthermore, tumors with mutations in the same codon of p53 display quite different intracellular distribution suggesting that, in addition to the genotype of p53, the intracellular microenvironment of a particular tumor is important in determining the subcellular localization of the p53 protein.

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