Induction of cell cycle progression and acceleration of apoptosis are two separable functions of c-Myc: Transrepression correlates with acceleration of apoptosis

S. D. Conzen, K. Gottlob, E. S. Kandel, P. Khanduri, A. J. Wagner, M. O'Leary, N. Hay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

89 Scopus citations

Abstract

Analysis of amino-terminus mutants of c-Myc has allowed a systematic study of the interrelationship between Myc's ability to regulate transcription and its apoptotic, proliferative, and transforming functions. First, we have found that c-Myc-accelerated apoptosis does not directly correlate with its ability to transactivate transcription using the endogenous ornithine decarboxylase (ODC) gene as readout for transactivation. Furthermore, deletion of the conserved c-Myc box I domain implicated in transactivation does not inhibit apoptosis. Second, the ability of c-Myc to repress transcription, using the gadd45 gene as a readout, correlates with its ability to accelerate apoptosis. A conserved region of c-Myc implicated in mediating transrepression is absolutely required for c-Myc-accelerated apoptosis. Third, a lymphoma-derived Thr58Ala mutation diminishes c-Myc-accelerated apoptosis through a decreased ability to induce the release of cytochrome c from mitochondria. This mutation in a potential phosphorylation site does not affect cell cycle progression, providing genetic evidence that induction of cell cycle progression and acceleration of apoptosis are two separable functions of c-Myc. Finally, we show that the increased ability of Thr58Ala mutant to elicit cellular transformation correlates with its diminished ability to accelerate apoptosis. Bcl-2 overexpression blocked and the lymphoma-associated Thr58Ala mutation decreased c-Myc-accelerated apoptosis, and both led to a significant increase in the ability of Ratla cells to form colonies in soft agar. This enhanced transformation was greater in soft agar containing a low concentration of serum, suggesting that protection from apoptosis is a mechanism contributing to the increased ability of these cells to proliferate in suspension. Thus, we show here for the first time that, in addition to mutations in complementary antiapoptotic genes, c-Myc itself can acquire mutations that potentiate neoplastic transformation by affecting apoptosis independently of cell cycle progression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6008-6018
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular and cellular biology
Volume20
Issue number16
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 21 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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