N-Myc is a member of the Myc family of transcription factors that have been shown to play a pivotal role in cell proliferation and differentiation. In this report, we have investigated the relationship between N-Myc and the developmental control gene Pax-3. Using transient transfection assays, we show that the Pax-3 promoter is activated by both N-Myc-Max and c-Myc-Max. Moreover, we show that Myc regulation of Pax-3 promoter activity is dependent upon a noncanonical E box site in the 5' promoter region of Pax-3. In addition, we show that ectopic expression of both N-Myc and c-Myc leads to increased expression of Pax-3 mRNA. Furthermore, we show that Pax-3 mRNA expression is cell cycle-regulated and that the 5' promoter region of Pax-3 (bp - 1578 to +56) can direct cell cycle-dependent gene expression with kinetics similar to that of the endogenous transcript. Site-directed mutagenesis of the E box site within the Pax-3 promoter significantly altered the pattern of expression through the cell cycle. These results suggest that the Myc family of transcription factors may modulate Pax-3 expression in vivo
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