Myb and NF-M: combinatorial activators of myeloid genes in heterologous cell types


  • S.A. Ness
  • E. Kowenz-Leutz
  • T. Casini
  • T. Graf
  • A. Leutz


  • Genes & Development


  • Genes Dev 7 (5): 749-759


  • The c-Myb transcription factor regulates the differentiation of immature erythroid, lymphoid, and myeloid cells, although only the latter cells become transformed by the v-myb oncogene. These are also the only cells that express the Myb-regulated gene mim-1, suggesting that Myb requires tissue-specific, cooperating factors to activate such genes. Here, we investigated the tissue-specific regulation of the mim-1 promoter and found that it not only contains binding sites for Myb but also for NF-M, a myeloid-specific transcription factor that probably corresponds to mammalian C/EBP beta. Both types of binding sites were found to be required for full activity of the promoter. Remarkably, ectopic coexpression of Myb and NF-M proteins in erythroid cells or fibroblasts was sufficient to induce endogenous markers of myeloid differentiation, like the mim-1 and lysozyme genes. Our results indicate that c-Myb and NF-M proteins act as a bipartite, combinatorial signal that regulates the expression of myeloid-specific genes, even in heterologous cell types.