The c-myc gene and the expression of the c-Myc protein are frequently altered in human cancers. The c-myc gene encodes the transcription factor c-Myc, which heterodimerizes with a partner protein, termed Max, to regulate gene expression. Max also heterodimerizes with the Mad family of proteins to repress transcription, antagonize c-Myc, and promote cellular differentiation. The constitutive activation of c-myc expression is key to the genesis of many cancers, and hence the understanding of c-Myc function depends on our understanding of its target genes. In this review, we attempt to place the putative target genes of c-Myc in the context of c-Myc-mediated phenotypes. From this perspective, c-Myc emerges as an oncogenic transcription factor that integrates the cell cycle machinery with cell adhesion, cellular metabolism, and the apoptotic pathways.
Copyright 1999 Academic Press.