MYC protein interactors in gene transcription and cancer

Nat Rev Cancer. 2021 Sep;21(9):579-591. doi: 10.1038/s41568-021-00367-9. Epub 2021 Jun 29.


The transcription factor and oncoprotein MYC is a potent driver of many human cancers and can regulate numerous biological activities that contribute to tumorigenesis. How a single transcription factor can regulate such a diverse set of biological programmes is central to the understanding of MYC function in cancer. In this Perspective, we highlight how multiple proteins that interact with MYC enable MYC to regulate several central control points of gene transcription. These include promoter binding, epigenetic modifications, initiation, elongation and post-transcriptional processes. Evidence shows that a combination of multiple protein interactions enables MYC to function as a potent oncoprotein, working together in a 'coalition model', as presented here. Moreover, as MYC depends on its protein interactome for function, we discuss recent research that emphasizes an unprecedented opportunity to target protein interactors to directly impede MYC oncogenesis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Oncogene Protein p55(v-myc) / genetics
  • Oncogene Protein p55(v-myc) / metabolism*
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Transcription, Genetic*


  • Oncogene Protein p55(v-myc)
  • Transcription Factors