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Mol Cell Biol. 2013 Sep;33(17):3494-504. doi: 10.1128/MCB.00853-12. Epub 2013 Jul 1.

MYC degradation under low O2 tension promotes survival by evading hypoxia-induced cell death.

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  • 1Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute, Perelman Scool of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

Abstract

Cells encounter oxygen deprivation (hypoxia) in various physiological and pathological contexts. Adaptation to hypoxic stress occurs in part by suppressing MYC, a key regulator of cellular metabolism, proliferation, and survival. Hypoxia has been reported to inhibit MYC through multiple means, including disruption of MYC transcriptional complexes and decreased MYC protein abundance. Here we identify enhanced proteasomal degradation and cathepsin-mediated proteolysis as important mechanisms for hypoxic MYC inhibition in human colon carcinoma cells. MYC protein levels were similarly reduced in hypoxic primary keratinocytes. Increased MYC turnover at low O2 tension was dependent on the E3 ubiquitin ligases FBXW7 and DDB1, as well as hypoxic induction of cathepsins D and S. Reduced MYC protein levels coincided with hypoxic inhibition of RNA polymerase III-dependent MYC target genes, which MYC regulates independently of its binding partner MAX. Finally, MYC overexpression in hypoxic cells promoted cell cycle progression but also enhanced cell death via increased expression of the proapoptotic genes NOXA and PUMA. Collectively, these results indicate that hypoxic cells promote MYC degradation as an adaptive strategy to reduce proliferation, suppress biosynthetic processes, and promote cell survival under low O2 tension.

PMID:
23816886
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3753854
Free PMC Article
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