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Reactivation of Myc transcription in the mouse heart unlocks its proliferative capacity

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Bywater, Megan 
Burkhart, Deborah 
Straube, Jasmin 
Sabo, Arianna 


It is unclear why some tissues are refractory to the mitogenic effects of the oncogene Myc. Here we show, Myc activation induces rapid transcriptional responses, followed by proliferation in some, but not all, organs. Despite such disparities in proliferative response, Myc is bound to DNA at open elements, in responsive (liver) and non-responsive (heart) tissues, but fails to induce a robust transcriptional and proliferative response in the heart. Using heart as an exemplar of a non-responsive tissue, we show that Myc-driven transcription is re-engaged in mature cardiomyocytes by elevating levels of P-TEFb, instating a large proliferative response. Hence, P-TEFb activity is a key limiting determinant of whether the heart is permissive for Myc transcriptional activation. These data provide a greater understanding of how Myc transcriptional activity is determined and indicate modification of P-TEFb levels could be utilised to drive regeneration of adult cardiomyocytes for the treatment of heart myopathies.



Animals, Cell Proliferation, Chromatin, Cyclin T, Mice, Myocardium, Myocytes, Cardiac, Organ Specificity, Phosphorylation, Positive Transcriptional Elongation Factor B, Protein Binding, Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-myc, Transcription, Genetic, Transcriptional Activation

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Nature Communications

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Springer Nature
Cancer Research Uk (None)
Cancer Research UK (19013)