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Mol Cell. 2006 Feb 17;21(4):509-19.

c-Myc phosphorylation is required for cellular response to oxidative stress.

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Experimental Chemotherapy Laboratory, Experimental Research Center, Regina Elena Cancer Institute, Rome, Italy.


Aside from the well-established roles of c-Myc in the regulation of cell cycle, differentiation, and apoptosis, a recent picture is beginning to emerge linking c-Myc to the regulation of metabolic pathways. Here, we define a further function for c-Myc in determining cellular redox balance, identifying glutathione (GSH) as the leading molecule mediating this process. The link between c-Myc and GSH is gamma-glutamyl-cysteine synthetase (gamma-GCS), the rate-limiting enzyme catalyzing GSH biosynthesis. Indeed, c-Myc transcriptionally regulates gamma-GCS by binding and activating the promoters of both gamma-GCS heavy and light subunits. Exposure to H2O2 enhances c-Myc recruitment to gamma-GCS regulatory regions through ERK-dependent phosphorylation. Phosphorylation at Ser-62 is required for c-Myc recruitment to gamma-GCS promoters and determines the cellular response to oxidative stress induced by different stimuli. Thus, the c-Myc phosphorylation-dependent activation of the GSH-directed survival pathway can contribute to oxidative stress resistance in tumor cells, which generally exhibit deregulated c-Myc expression.

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