Control of cell growth by c-Myc in the absence of cell division

Curr Biol. 1999 Nov 4;9(21):1255-8. doi: 10.1016/s0960-9822(99)80507-7.


The c-Myc protein (Myc) is a transcription factor, and deregulated expression of the c-myc gene (myc) is frequently found in tumours. In Burkitt's lymphoma (BL), myc is transcriptionally activated by chromosomal translocation. We have used a B-cell line called P493-6 that carries a conditional myc allele to elucidate the role of Myc in the proliferation of BL cells. Regulation of proliferation involves the coordination of cell growth (accumulation of cell mass) and cell division [1] [2] [3]. Here, we show that division of P493-6 cells was strictly dependent on the expression of the conditional myc allele and the presence of foetal calf serum (FCS). More importantly, cell growth was regulated by Myc without FCS: Myc alone induced an increase in cell size and positively regulated protein synthesis. An increase in protein synthesis is thought to be one of the causes of cell mass increase. Furthermore, Myc stimulated metabolic activities, as indicated by the acidification of culture medium and the activation of mitochondrial enzymes. Our results confirm the model that Myc is involved in the regulation of cell growth [4] and provide, for the first time, direct evidence that Myc induces cell growth, that is, an increase in cell size, uncoupled from cell division.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Division / physiology*
  • Cell Line, Transformed
  • Cell Size / physiology
  • Culture Media / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-myc / physiology*


  • Culture Media
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-myc