There is evidence for both transcriptional and post-transcriptional levels of regulation of c-fos and c-myc proto-oncogenes. Transcription of both genes can be regulated at the level of initiation. However, it was recently shown in various situations for c-myc, and in one case for c-fos, that these genes can also be down-regulated by a block to elongation of nascent RNA chains. Both c-myc and c-fos mRNAs are known to be extremely unstable (half-lives around 10-15 min) and c-myc RNA turnover has been shown to be modulated under various physiological situations. A typical c-myc RNAs found in certain mouse plasma cell tumors (MPCs) and Burkitt, lymphomas (BLs) are significantly and sometimes dramatically more stable than their normal counterparts. In this review we report that: i) transcriptional control elements reside in murine c-myc and c-fos first exons. Daudi cells provide an example of c-myc activation via removal of this block to elongation; ii) elements necessary for the rapid degradation of c-fos and c-myc RNAs reside in their 3′ non-coding regions; iii) these destabilizing elements can be counteracted by atypical 5′ sequences found in abnormal c-mys transcripts from BLs and mouse plasmocytomas. © 1988.
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