Two papers in the May 1 issue of Genes & Development reveal unexpectedly widespread genomic binding by the Myc protein – prompting scientists to consider that this highly studied human oncogene may still have a few secrets to reveal.
Independent research groups led by Drs. Robert Eisenman (Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center) and Bruno Amati (European Institute of Oncology) report on the first genome-wide analyses of in vivo Myc targets in the Drosophila and human genomes, respectively. As the myc gene is mutated in approximately one-third of all human cancers, the identification of the full range of genes that interact with Myc under normal conditions will be important to understanding how abnormal myc expression can lead to cancer.
The myc gene encodes a transcription factor (Myc) that, together with a partner protein (Max), binds to specific DNA sequences to regulate gene expression. myc is classified as an oncogene because genetic mutations that result in over-expression of Myc protein promote unregulated cell proliferation and cancer. While Myc has an established role in directing cell growth, proliferation, differentiation, and death, the precise molecular pathways of Myc action are still largely unknown.
Heather Cosel | EurekAlert!
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