The c-Myc oncogene has been implicated in the genesis of diverse human tumors. Ectopic expression of the c-Myc gene in cultured epithelial cells causes resistance to the antiproliferative effects of TGF-beta. However, little is known about the precise mechanisms of c-Myc-mediated TGF-beta resistance. In this study, we reveal that c-Myc physically interacts with Smad2 and Smad3, two specific signal transducers involved in TGF-beta signaling. Through its direct interaction with Smads, c-Myc binds to the Sp1-Smad complex on the promoter of the p15(Ink4B) gene, thereby inhibiting the TGF-beta-induced transcriptional activity of Sp1 and Smad/Sp1-dependent transcription of the p15(Ink4B) gene. These results suggest that oncogenic c-Myc promotes cell growth and cancer development partly by inhibiting the growth inhibitory functions of Smads.
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