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Methionine Deprivation Regulates The Translation Of Functionally-distinct C-Myc Proteins.

S. Hann
Published 1995 · Biology, Medicine

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Numerous studies have demonstrated a critical role for the c-myc gene in the control of cellular growth. Alterations of the c-myc gene have been found associated with many different types of tumors in several species, including humans. The increased synthesis of one of the major forms of c-Myc protein, c-Myc 1, upon methionine deprivation provides a link between the regulation of oncogenes and the nutritional status of the cell. While deregulation or overexpression of the other major form, c-Myc 2, has been shown to cause tumorigenesis, the synthesis of c-Myc 1 protein is lost in many tumors. This suggests that the c-Myc 1 protein is necessary to keep the c-Myc 2 protein "in check" and prevent certain cells from becoming tumorigenic. Indeed, we have shown that overproduction of c-Myc 1 can inhibit cell growth. We have also shown that c-Myc 1 and 2 proteins have a differential molecular function in the regulation of transcription through a new binding site of Myc/Max heterodimers. We have also recently identified new translational forms of the c-Myc protein which we term delta-c-Myc. These proteins arise from translational initiation at downstream start sites which yield N-terminally-truncated c-Myc proteins. Since these proteins lack a significant portion of the transactivation domain of c-Myc, they behave as dominant-negative inhibitors of the full-length c-Myc 1 and 2 proteins. The synthesis of delta-c-Myc proteins is also regulated during cell growth and is repressed by methionine deprivation. Therefore, the synthesis of c-Myc 1 and delta-c-Myc proteins are reciprocally regulated by methionine availability. We have also found some tumor cell lines which synthesize high levels of the delta-c-Myc proteins. Taken together, our data suggest that c-Myc function is dependent on the levels of these different translational forms of c-Myc protein which are regulated by the nutritional status of the cell during growth. Numerous reports have demonstrated a fundamental and diverse role for the myc gene in cellular events, including proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis (Cole 1986; Spencer and Groudine 1991; Askew et al. 1991; Evan et al. 1992). This is dramatically illustrated by the frequent occurrence of a variety of tumors in many species having alterations of myc genes and the transduction of c-myc sequences by retroviruses (Spencer and Groudine 1991).4+ Eisenman 1990).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)
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