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Mol Cell Biol. 2004 Dec;24(24):10826-34.

The c-MYC oncoprotein is a substrate of the acetyltransferases hGCN5/PCAF and TIP60.

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The Wistar Institute, 3601 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


The c-MYC oncoprotein functions as a sequence-specific transcription factor. The ability of c-MYC to activate transcription relies in part on the recruitment of cofactor complexes containing the histone acetyltransferases mammalian GCN5 (mGCN5)/PCAF and TIP60. In addition to acetylating histones, these enzymes have been shown to acetylate other proteins involved in transcription, including sequence-specific transcription factors. This study was initiated in order to determine whether c-MYC is a direct substrate of mGCN5 and TIP60. We report here that mGCN5/PCAF and TIP60 acetylate c-MYC in vivo. By using nanoelectrospray tandem mass spectrometry to examine c-MYC purified from human cells, the major mGCN5-induced acetylation sites have been mapped. Acetylation of c-MYC by either mGCN5/PCAF or TIP60 results in a dramatic increase in protein stability. The data reported here suggest a conserved mechanism by which acetyltransferases regulate c-MYC function by altering its rate of degradation.

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