Previous work has shown that the Myc transcription factor induces transcription of the E2F1, E2F2, and E2F3 genes. Using primary mouse embryo fibroblasts deleted for individual E2F genes, we now show that Myc-induced S phase and apoptosis requires distinct E2F activities. The ability of Myc to induce S phase is impaired in the absence of either E2F2 or E2F3 but not E2F1 or E2F4. In contrast, the ability of Myc to induce apoptosis is markedly reduced in cells deleted for E2F1 but not E2F2 or E2F3. From this data, we propose that the induction of specific E2F activities is an essential component in the Myc pathways that control cell proliferation and cell fate decisions.
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