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Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2011 Nov;43(11):1573-81. doi: 10.1016/j.biocel.2011.07.006. Epub 2011 Jul 22.

Sirt1 deacetylates c-Myc and promotes c-Myc/Max association.

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National Laboratory of Medical Molecular Biology, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking Union Medical College, Beijing 100005, China.


The c-Myc oncoprotein plays critical roles in multiple biological processes by controlling cell proliferation, apoptosis, differentiation, and metabolism. Especially, c-Myc is frequently overexpressed in many human cancers and widely involved in tumorigenesis. However, how the post-translational modifications, especially acetylation of c-Myc, contribute to its activity in the leukemia cells remains largely unknown. Sirt1, a NAD-dependent class III histone deacetylase, has a paradoxical role in tumorigenesis by deacetylating several transcription factors, including p53, E2F1 and forkhead proteins. In this study, we show that Sirt1 interacts physically with the C-terminus of c-Myc and deacetylates c-Myc both in vitro and in vivo. Moreover, the deacetylation of c-Myc by Sirt1 promotes its association with Max, a partner essential for its activation, thereby facilitating c-Myc transactivation activity on hTERT promoter. Finally, inhibition of endogenous Sirt1 in K562 cells by either RNAi or its inhibitor NAM causes the overall decrease of c-Myc target genes expression, including hTERT, cyclinD2 and LDHA, which further suppress cell proliferation and arrest cell cycle at G1/S phase. Thus, our results demonstrate the positive effect of Sirt1 on c-Myc activity by efficiently enhancing c-Myc/Max association in human leukemia cell line K562, suggesting a potential role of Sirt1 in tumorigenesis.

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