p21, also known as wild-type p53-activated factor (WAF-1) or Cdk-interacting protein (CIP1), expression is predominantly induced by p53. This expression is usually in response to DNA damage caused by cytotoxic agents. The expression of p21 interrupts the cell cycle and prevents the replication of the cell containing genomic errors. p21 inhibits Cdk2, Cdk3, Cdk4 and Cdk6 to stop the cell cycle. Contained in the human p21 is a highly conserved cystine-rich region (amino acids 21-60) with a potential zinc finger domain as well as a second conserved region (amino acids 130-164) which contains several putative nuclear localization signals. p21 can also interact with proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA), Gadd45, Cdk2 and cyclins which suggests it may coordinate DNA repair and replication in damaged cells.
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