Autorepression of c-myc requires both initiator and E2F-binding site elements and cooperation with the p107 gene product

Oncogene. 2004 Feb 5;23(5):1088-97. doi: 10.1038/sj.onc.1207225.


Myc proteins are transcriptional activators, but also repress transcription through initiator (Inr) elements. Repression requires the conserved Myc Box II, but the cis-acting element(s) required for c-myc autorepression have eluded definition. Since the gene has a candidate Inr at the P2 promoter, we tested whether Myc autorepression operates through the Inr/BoxII mechanism. Overexpression of c-Myc but not a Box II deletion mutation represses both c-myc P2 reporter genes and endogenous c-myc, as does Mxi1 expression. Only 45 nucleotides surrounding the P2 start suffice to mediate autorepression, but Myc and Mxi1 also downregulate P2 Inr mutations, suggesting other core promoter sequence requirements for autorepression. We tested the importance of conserved E2F sites, based on known Myc interaction with the pRb-related p107 and on the transrepressive effects of Rb family proteins. Myc, Mxi1, and p107 repress c-myc somewhat less well in the absence of E2F binding sites, while an E2F+Inr double mutation is not repressed at all by these gene products. Further, Myc repression at the c-myc P2 core promoter is augmented by p107, but not by pRb or p130, nor by p107 lacking the conserved pocket domain. Our data suggest that Myc autorepression requires both the c-myc Inr and E2F sites in cis, as well as p107 in trans. Consistent with this, we found that retrovirally transduced c-Myc cannot downregulate endogenous c-myc in p107-null fibroblasts, and show evidence that both Myc and p107 are present in a complex assembled at the c-myc P2 core promoter.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Binding Sites
  • Cell Cycle Proteins*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins*
  • E2F Transcription Factors
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • Genes, Reporter
  • Mice
  • Models, Biological
  • NIH 3T3 Cells
  • Nuclear Proteins / metabolism*
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Protein Binding
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-myc / metabolism*
  • Retinoblastoma-Like Protein p107
  • Retroviridae / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*


  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • E2F Transcription Factors
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-myc
  • Rbl1 protein, mouse
  • Retinoblastoma-Like Protein p107
  • Transcription Factors