c-Myc: Much More Than Just an Epitope Tag

Fri, 11/08/2013 - 13:52

The Myc gene family of proto-oncogenes consists of nuclear transcription factors that include l-Myc, n-Myc and c-Myc. They are key players in fundamental processes such as cellular proliferation, differentiation, apoptosis, metabolism, and adhesion. Myc proteins have dual roles as both transcriptional activators and repressors, and are downstream of a wide assortment of mitogenic signals (such as EGF, Wnt, and PI3K) and are often upregulated or mutated in many cancer types. The human p62 c-Myc binds DNA in a non-specific manner and its heterodimerization with other basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) proteins such as Myc-associated Factor X (MAX) facilitates more efficient DNA-binding. Because c-Myc upregulates transcription of several key growth-related genes and induces cell-cycle progression, it is often a key driver in tumorigenesis and cancer development. Protein sequences within c-myc have also been exploited and widely used as protein fusion tags, with matching antibodies that recognize these specific myc-tag epitopes. A wide variety of such c-myc antibody epitopes and variants have been created and characterized for use as fusion tags and identifiers (1). One creative application of the c-myc antibody as an epitope tag involves both spatial and temporal visualization – using microscopy and fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP) of the intracellular protein phosphatase 1 (PP1) in dividing live cells when either transiently or stably expressed in a variety of fluorescent protein fusions (2).

Immunocytochemistry/Immunofluorescence: c-Myc Antibody Immunocytochemistry/Immunofluorescence: c-Myc Antibody

A group of Italian researchers used the c-myc antibody to identify prognostic markers in male breast carcinoma and found that overexpression of c-myc, c-ErbB2 and p53 strongly correlated with prognosis in their multivariate study (3). The c-myc antibody allowed Lu’s lab to demonstrate that the DNA double-stranded break repair protein Nbs1 stably binds to the E3 ubiquitin ligase RNF8, and that this interaction and subsequent ubiquitination promote Nbs1 binding to double-stranded break (DSB)-containing chromatin (4). A recent Johns Hopkins study identified sirtuin-7 (Sirt7) as a negative regulator of hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) signaling in c-myc antibody through a yet-to-be-identified mechanism (5).

  1. PMID: 11739900
  2. PMID: 17200560
  3. PMID: 10944127
  4. PMID: 23115235
  5. PMID: 23750001

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