The proto-oncogene c-myb is constitutively expressed in murine leukemia virus-induced myeloid leukemia (MML) due to the integration of virus at this locus. Our recent focus has been the determination of genes regulated by this transcription factor that may be involved in transformation. Data presented here, using conditional expression of Myb in myeloid cells, show that c-Myb directly transactivates the endogenous c-myc and Bcl-2 genes, which explains at least in part how c-Myb regulates proliferation and survival. In addition, c-Myb prevents expression at the RNA level of the tumor suppressor INK4b gene. This gene encodes a cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor, p15INK4b, that is normally upregulated at the mRNA level during myeloid differentiation and promotes growth arrest. The MMLs are generally characterized as differentiated monocytic tumors and possess the phenotype that is normally associated with p15INK4b expression. c-Myb inhibits expression of this gene, however, and therefore acts to promote a pathway which is abnormal in mature cells. This activity of c-Myb collaborates with its maintenance of c-myc expression to promote growth.
Copyright 2001 Academic Press.