Send to

Choose Destination
Oncogene. 1998 Dec 24;17(25):3351-7.

The proto-oncogene c-myc and apoptosis.

Author information

Fels Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Biology, Temple University School of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19140, USA.


Deregulated expression of c-Myc not only promotes proliferation, but also can either induce or sensitize cells to apoptosis. Inappropriate expression of c-Myc under conditions which inhibit growth and down-regulate endogenous c-Myc expression, including serum deprivation and exposure to cytotoxic agents including the anticancer agents vinblastine, etoposide, Ara-C, and nocodazole, usually results in programmed cell death in many different cell types. Also, inappropriate Myc expression is associated with an apoptotic response elicited by induction of differentiation. The proapoptotic property of c-Myc requires an intact N-terminal transactivation domain and bHLHZip domain, as well as interaction with Max, thereby implicating c-Myc target genes in this apoptotic process. Although some target genes, namely cdc25A and ODC, have been shown to participate in Myc-mediated apoptosis, no target gene has yet been identified which is essential for this apoptotic response. It is possible that the response of cells inappropriately expressing c-Myc is due not only to the growth arrest signals per se, but also to signals elicited by specific growth inhibitors in the context of a particular biological setting. Also regulating the response of the cells is expression of other oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes, as well as paracrine and autocrine survival factors. Apoptosis associated with inappropriate Myc expression limits the tumorigenic effect of the c-myc proto-oncogene. Mechanisms which inhibit apoptosis should enhance or promote tumorigenesis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Nature Publishing Group
Loading ...
Support Center