Myc (c-Myc) is a regulator gene that codes for a transcription factor. The protein encoded by this gene is a multifunctional, nuclear phosphoprotein that plays a role in cell cycle progression, apoptosis and cellular transformation.
A mutated version of Myc is found in many cancers, which causes Myc to be constitutively (persistently) expressed. This leads to the unregulated expression of many genes, some of which are involved in cell proliferation, and results in the formation of cancer. A common human translocation involving Myc is critical to the development of most cases of Burkitt lymphoma. Malfunctions in Myc have also been found in carcinoma of the cervix, colon, breast, lung and stomach. Myc is thus viewed as a promising target for anti-cancer drugs.
In the human genome, Myc is located on chromosome 8 and is believed to regulate expression of 15% of all genes through binding on enhancer box sequences ( E-boxes) and recruiting histone acetyltransferases (HATs). This means that in addition to its role as a classical transcription factor, Myc also functions to regulate global chromatin structure by regulating histone acetylation both in gene-rich regions and at sites far from any known gene.