c-myc overexpression uncouples DNA replication from mitosis

Qing Li, Chi V. Dang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

109 Scopus citations


c-myc has been shown to regulate G1/S transition, but a role for c-myc in other phases of the cell cycle has not been identified. Exposure of cells to colcemid activates the mitotic spindle checkpoint and arrests cells transiently in metaphase. After prolonged colcemid exposure, the cells withdraw from mitosis and enter a G1-like state. In contrast to cells in G1, colcemid-arrested cells have decreased G1 cyclin-dependent kinase activity and show hypophosphorylation of the retinoblastoma protein. We have found that overexpression of c-myc causes colcemid-treated human and rodent cells to become either apoptotic or polyploid by replicating DNA without chromosomal segregation. Although c-myc-induced polyploidy is not inhibited by wild-type p53 in immortalized murine fibroblasts, overexpression of c-myc in primary fibroblasts resulted in massive apoptosis of colcemid-treated cells. We surmise that additional genes are altered in immortalized cells to suppress the apoptotic pathway and allow c-myc-overexpressing cells to progress forward in the presence of colcemid. Our results also suggest that c-myc induces DNA rereplication in this G1-like state by activating CDK2 activity. These observations indicate that activation of c-myc may contribute to the genomic instability commonly found in human cancers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5339-5351
Number of pages13
JournalMolecular and cellular biology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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