Topic Completed: 1 October 2013

Revised: 4 March 2019

Copyright: 2003-2015,, Inc.

PubMed Search: c-myc[title]

Nat Pernick, M.D.
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Table of Contents
Definition / general
Cite this page: Pernick N. c-Myc. website. Accessed September 23rd, 2019.
Definition / general
  • Proto-oncogene at 8q24.1 produces short lived nuclear phosphoprotein
  • Overexpressed by t(8;14)(q24;q32.3), t(8;22);(q24;11) and t(2;8);(p11-12;q24), which translocate c-myc gene next to immunoglobulin genes in Burkitt’s lymphoma
  • Gene expressed in virtually all eukaryotic cells; expression usually tightly controlled
  • Immediate early growth response gene; rapidly induced when quiescent cells receive a signal to divide; required for cells to enter S phase
  • By itself, binds DNA poorly; forms stable sequence specific DNA binding heterodimers with max; myc-max recognizes E-box sequence CACGTG and activates transcription of nearby growth promoting genes
  • Has leucine zipper motif: leucine residues that project from every other turn of the alpha helix (every 7th amino acid is leucine), which interdigitates with another leucine zipper
  • In humans, deletion causes embryonic death
  • t(8;14) also frequent in AIDS-related lymphomas, diffuse large-cell lymphomas, posttransplant lymphoproliferative disease, B-ALL (leukemic counterpart of Burkitt's lymphoma)
  • t(8;14)(q24;q11) present in 10-15% T-ALL
  • Breast cancer: amplified in 20-30% of cases; associated with HER2 amplification and poor outcome (Hum Pathol 2005;36:634)
  • Burkitt’s lymphoma: 90% have translocation of c-myc or variants; translocation causes continuous stimulation by adjacent enhancer element of immunoglobulin gene or mutations in myc gene regulatory sequences, that leads to increased constitutive levels; continuous growth stimulation may lead to polyclonal pre-B proliferations, then clonal proliferations, usually ALL-L3
  • Lung-small cell carcinoma: amplified
  • Neuroblastoma: amplified
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