c-myc expression: keep the noise down!

Mol Cells. 2005 Oct 31;20(2):157-66.


The c-myc proto-oncogene encodes a nuclear protein that is deregulated and/or mutated in most human cancers. Acting primarily as an activator and sometimes as a repressor, MYC protein controls the synthesis of up to 10-15% of genes. The key MYC targets contributing to oncogenesis are incompletely enumerated and it is not known whether pathology arises from the expression of physiologic targets at abnormal levels or from the pathologic response of new target genes that are not normally regulated by MYC. Regardless of which, available evidence indicates that the level of MYC expression is an important determinant of MYC biology. The c-myc promoter has architectural and functional features that contribute to uniform expression and help to prevent or mitigate conditions that might otherwise create noisy expression. Those features include the use of an expanded proximal promoter, the averaging of input from dozens of transcription factors, and real-time feedback using the supercoil-deformable Far UpStream Element (FUSE) as physical sensor of ongoing transcriptional activity, and the FUSE binding protein (FBP) as well as the FBP interacting repressor (FIR) as effectors to enforce normal transcription from the c-myc promoter.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Genes, myc / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-myc / biosynthesis*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-myc / genetics


  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-myc