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Opposite Regulation of Gene Transcription and Cell Proliferation by c-Myc and Max

Wei Gu, Katarina Cechova, Vittorio Tassi and Riccardo Dalla-Favera
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Vol. 90, No. 7 (Apr. 1, 1993), pp. 2935-2939
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2361653
Page Count: 5
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Opposite Regulation of Gene Transcription and Cell Proliferation by c-Myc and Max
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Abstract

c-Myc and Max are nuclear phosphoproteins capable of forming DNA-binding, homo- and heteropolymeric complexes in vitro and in vivo. Using a transient cotransfection assay involving c-Myc and Max expression vectors and a reporter gene plasmid containing the Myc/Max binding site, we find that Max represses transcription, whereas a significant stimulation is obtained when Max is coexpressed with c-Myc. Analysis of specific mutants indicates that transcriptional activation requires both the c-Myc and the Max dimerization and DNA-binding domains, as well as the c-Myc transactivation function; transcriptional repression by Max requires both DNA binding and dimerization. Analogously, in stably transfected human B-lymphoblastoid cell lines, overexpressed c-Myc and Max synergize to cause malignant transformation, whereas overexpression of Max alone leads to growth inhibition. These results indicate that the c-Myc and Max are transcriptional regulators with the ability to oppositely regulate target-gene expression and cell proliferation, most likely as the result of the opposite effects of heterodimeric c-Myc-Max (positive) versus homodimeric Max (negative) complexes.

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