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      Target gene-independent functions of MYC oncoproteins

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          Myc's broad reach.

          The role of the myc gene family in the biology of normal and cancer cells has been intensively studied since the early 1980s. myc genes, responding to diverse external and internal signals, express transcription factors (c-, N-, and L-Myc) that heterodimerize with Max, bind DNA, and modulate expression of a specific set of target genes. Over the last few years, expression profiling, genomic binding studies, and genetic analyses in mammals and Drosophila have led to an expanded view of Myc function. This review is focused on two major aspects of Myc: the nature of the genes and pathways that are targeted by Myc, and the role of Myc in stem cell and cancer biology.
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            Activity-Induced DNA Breaks Govern the Expression of Neuronal Early-Response Genes.

            Neuronal activity causes the rapid expression of immediate early genes that are crucial for experience-driven changes to synapses, learning, and memory. Here, using both molecular and genome-wide next-generation sequencing methods, we report that neuronal activity stimulation triggers the formation of DNA double strand breaks (DSBs) in the promoters of a subset of early-response genes, including Fos, Npas4, and Egr1. Generation of targeted DNA DSBs within Fos and Npas4 promoters is sufficient to induce their expression even in the absence of an external stimulus. Activity-dependent DSB formation is likely mediated by the type II topoisomerase, Topoisomerase IIβ (Topo IIβ), and knockdown of Topo IIβ attenuates both DSB formation and early-response gene expression following neuronal stimulation. Our results suggest that DSB formation is a physiological event that rapidly resolves topological constraints to early-response gene expression in neurons.
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              Modelling Myc inhibition as a cancer therapy.

              Myc is a pleiotropic basic helix-loop-helix leucine zipper transcription factor that coordinates expression of the diverse intracellular and extracellular programs that together are necessary for growth and expansion of somatic cells. In principle, this makes inhibition of Myc an attractive pharmacological approach for treating diverse types of cancer. However, enthusiasm has been muted by lack of direct evidence that Myc inhibition would be therapeutically efficacious, concerns that it would induce serious side effects by inhibiting proliferation of normal tissues, and practical difficulties in designing Myc inhibitory drugs. We have modelled genetically both the therapeutic impact and the side effects of systemic Myc inhibition in a preclinical mouse model of Ras-induced lung adenocarcinoma by reversible, systemic expression of a dominant-interfering Myc mutant. We show that Myc inhibition triggers rapid regression of incipient and established lung tumours, defining an unexpected role for endogenous Myc function in the maintenance of Ras-dependent tumours in vivo. Systemic Myc inhibition also exerts profound effects on normal regenerating tissues. However, these effects are well tolerated over extended periods and rapidly and completely reversible. Our data demonstrate the feasibility of targeting Myc, a common downstream conduit for many oncogenic signals, as an effective, efficient and tumour-specific cancer therapy.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology
                Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol
                Springer Science and Business Media LLC
                1471-0072
                1471-0080
                February 18 2020
                Article
                10.1038/s41580-020-0215-2
                32071436
                4f575e08-400d-4d90-9f38-3ceea169e613
                © 2020

                http://www.springer.com/tdm

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