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Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2009 Dec;21(6):844-54. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2009 Oct 14.

Myc's other life: stem cells and beyond.

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Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research Ltd, Lausanne Branch, University of Lausanne, Switzerland.


Over the last three decades genetic and biochemical studies have revealed the pleiotropic effects of the Myc oncoprotein. While cell line studies have defined the intracellular processes regulated by Myc such as proliferation, differentiation, and metabolic growth, in vivo studies have confirmed these functions, and revealed roles in acquisition and maintenance of stem cell properties. These roles may be partially mediated by Myc's capacity to modify the chromatin landscape on a global scale. Myc also regulates numerous protein-coding transcripts, and many noncoding RNAs (rRNAs, tRNAs, and miRNAs). As Myc activity directly correlates with protein expression, further complexity is provided by post-translational modifications that regulate Myc in normal stem cells or deregulate it in malignant stem cells.

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