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Acts as a tumor suppressor in many tumor types, induces growth arrest or apoptosis depending on the physiological circumstances and cell type. Involved in cell cycle regulation as a trans-activator that acts to negatively regulate cell division by controlling a set of genes required for this process. One of the activated genes is an inhibitor of cyclin-dependent kinases. Apoptosis induction seems to be mediated either by stimulation of BAX and FAS antigen expression, or by repression of Bcl-2 expression. In cooperation with mitochondrial PPIF is involved in activating oxidative stress-induced necrosis, the function is largely independent of transcription. Induces the transcription of long intergenic non-coding RNA p21 (lincRNA-p21) and lincRNA-Mkln1. LincRNA-p21 participates in TP53-dependent transcriptional repression leading to apoptosis and seem to have to effect on cell-cycle regulation. Implicated in Notch signaling cross-over. Prevents CDK7 kinase activity when associated to CAK complex in response to DNA damage, thus stopping cell cycle progression. Isoform 2 enhances the transactivation activity of isoform 1 from some but not all TP53-inducible promoters. Isoform 4 suppresses transactivation activity and impairs growth suppression mediated by isoform 1. Isoform 7 inhibits isoform 1-mediated apoptosis.