Trans-acting elements modulate expression of the human c-myc gene in Burkitt lymphoma cells

J. Chung, E. Sinn, R. R. Reed, P. Leder

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47 Scopus citations


We have used a competition assay to identify the targets of trans-acting elements that modulate the expression of the human c-myc gene (designated MYC in human gene nomenclature). For this purpose, a c-myc hybrid indicator gene was formed by joining the c-myc promoter region, first noncoding exon, and intron to the bacterial gene for chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (CAT). The test assay consisted of cotransfecting the indicator gene with competing fragments of DNA derived from suspected control regions of the c-myc gene. Such experiments test the hypothesis that control regions are often targets for the binding of trans-acting regulatory factors than can be diverted to competing fragments of DNA. A negatively acting element will be diverted from the indicator gene, allowing the gene's enhanced expression, whereas a positively acting element will behave oppositely. Control indicator genes drive by non-myc promoters assess the specificity of the effect. Using this approach, we find three c-myc regions that are capable of enhancing the expression of the indicator gene in competition assays (i.e., putative sites of negative modulation). In addition, we find sequences near the c-myc promoters that suppress expression in competition assays (i.e., putative binding sites of positively acting factors). These results, with appropriate controls, suggest the existence of target sites near the c-myc gene that specifically modulate its expression both positively and negatively. Their locations fit well with regions damaged or lost in many Burkitt lymphoma and murine plasmacytoma translocations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7918-7922
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number20
StatePublished - 1986
Externally publishedYes

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