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Dev Biol. 2007 Oct 15;310(2):226-39. Epub 2007 Aug 3.

A C. elegans Myc-like network cooperates with semaphorin and Wnt signaling pathways to control cell migration.

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Huntsman Cancer Institute, Department of Oncological Sciences, University of Utah, 2000 Circle of Hope, Salt Lake City, UT 84112-5550, USA.


Myc and Mondo proteins are key regulators of cell growth, proliferation, and energy metabolism, yet often overlooked is their vital role in cell migration. Complex networks of protein-protein and protein-DNA interactions control the transcriptional activity of Myc and MondoA confounding their functional analysis in higher eukaryotes. Here we report the identification of the transcriptional activation arm of a simplified Myc-like network in Caenorhabditis elegans. This network comprises an Mlx ortholog, named MXL-2 for Max-like 2, and a protein that has sequence features of both Myc and Mondo proteins, named MML-1 for Myc and Mondo-like 1. MML-1/MXL-2 complexes have a primary function in regulating migration of the ray 1 precursor cells in the male tail. MML-1/MXL-2 complexes control expression of ECM components in the non-migratory epidermis, which we propose contributes to the substratum required for migration of the neighboring ray 1 precursor cells. Furthermore, we show that pro-migratory Wnt/beta-catenin and semaphorin signaling pathways interact genetically with MML-1/MXL-2 to determine ray 1 position. This first functional analysis of the Myc superfamily in C. elegans suggests that MondoA and Myc may have more predominant roles in cell migration than previously appreciated, and their cooperation with other pro-migratory pathways provides a more integrated view of their role in cell migration.

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