Multiple interactions of the oncoprotein transcription factor MYC with the SWI/SNF chromatin remodeler

Oncogene. 2021 May;40(20):3593-3609. doi: 10.1038/s41388-021-01804-7. Epub 2021 Apr 30.


The SNF5 subunit of the SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complex has been shown to act as a tumor suppressor through multiple mechanisms, including impairing the ability of the oncoprotein transcription factor MYC to bind chromatin. Beyond SNF5, however, it is unknown to what extent MYC can access additional SWI/SNF subunits or how these interactions affect the ability of MYC to drive transcription, particularly in SNF5-null cancers. Here, we report that MYC interacts with multiple SWI/SNF components independent of SNF5. We show that MYC binds the pan-SWI/SNF subunit BAF155 through the BAF155 SWIRM domain, an interaction that is inhibited by the presence of SNF5. In SNF5-null cells, MYC binds with remaining SWI/SNF components to essential genes, although for a purpose that is distinct from chromatin remodeling. Analysis of MYC-SWI/SNF target genes in SNF5-null cells reveals that they are associated with core biological functions of MYC linked to protein synthesis. These data reveal that MYC can bind SWI/SNF in an SNF5-independent manner and that SNF5 modulates access of MYC to core SWI/SNF complexes. This work provides a framework in which to interrogate the influence of SWI/SNF on MYC function in cancers in which SWI/SNF or MYC are altered.