Myc protein: function, pathway and mutation

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AJBM  Volume 2, Issue 2, pages 156–169, February 2014                Full Text-PDF

Maciel H Bandeira and Costa T Ribeiro


Myc protein belongs to Myc family of transcription factors, there are 3 types of Myc: c-Myc, N-Myc, and L-Myc expression by dendritic cells is required for optimal T cell priming. Myc family of transcription factors contain bHLH/LZ (basic Helix-Loop-Helix Leucine Zipper) domain. Through its bHLH domain can bind to DNA, while the leucine zipper domain allows the dimerization with its partner Max, another bHLH transcription factor. Myc protien is a transcription factor that activates expression of many genes through binding on consensus sequences (Enhancer Box sequences (E-boxes)) and recruiting histone acetyltransferase (HATs). The first to be discovered was its capability to drive cell proliferation (upregulates cyclins, downregulates p21), but it also plays a very important role in regulating cell growth (upregulates ribosomal RNA and proteins), apoptosis (downregulates Bcl-2), differentiation, and stem cell self-renewal. Myc is a very strong proto-oncogene and it is very often found to be upregulated in many types of cancers. Myc overexpression stimulates gene amplification, presumably through DNA over-replication. It can also act as a transcriptional repressor. By binding Miz-1 transcription factor and displacing the p300 co-activator, it inhibits expression of Miz-1 target genes. In addition, myc has a direct role in the control of DNA replication. Myc is activated upon various mitogenic signals such as Wnt, Shh and EGF (via the MAPK/ERK pathway). By modifying the expression of its target genes, Myc activation results in numerous biological effects. This paper will provide researchers with a critical appraisal of Myc in cell biology.

Key words: Myc protein, bHLH domain, Cancer, Histone, p300 co-activator