The c-Myc target gene network

Semin Cancer Biol. 2006 Aug;16(4):253-64. doi: 10.1016/j.semcancer.2006.07.014. Epub 2006 Jul 25.


For more than a decade, numerous studies have suggested that the c-Myc oncogenic protein is likely to broadly influence the composition of the transcriptome. However, the evidence required to support this notion was made available only recently, much to the anticipation of an eagerly awaiting field. In the past 5 years, many high-throughput screens based on microarray gene expression profiling, serial analysis of gene expression (SAGE), chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) followed by genomic array analysis, and Myc-methylase chimeric proteins have generated a wealth of information regarding Myc responsive and target genes. From these studies, the c-Myc target gene network is estimated to comprise about 15% of all genes from flies to humans. Both genomic and functional analyses of c-Myc targets suggest that while c-Myc behaves as a global regulator of transcription, groups of genes involved in cell cycle regulation, metabolism, ribosome biogenesis, protein synthesis, and mitochondrial function are over-represented in the c-Myc target gene network. c-Myc also consistently represses genes involved in cell growth arrest and cell adhesion. The overexpression of c-Myc predisposes cells to apoptosis under nutrient or growth factor deprivation conditions, although the critical sets of genes involved remain elusive. Despite tremendous advances, the downstream target genes that distinguish between physiologic and tumorigenic functions of c-Myc remain to be delineated.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Protein Interaction Mapping
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-myc / physiology*
  • Transcription, Genetic / physiology*


  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-myc