Phosphorylation-dependent down-regulation of c-Myb DNA binding is abrogated by a point mutation in the v-myb oncogene


  • K.B. Andersson
  • E. Kowenz-Leutz
  • E.M. Brendeford
  • A.H.H. Tygsett
  • A. Leutz
  • O.S. Gabrielsen


  • Journal of Biological Chemistry


  • J Biol Chem 278 (6): 3816-3824


  • The viral Myb (v-Myb) oncoprotein of the avian myeloblastosis virus (AMV) is an activated form of the cellular transcription factor c-Myb causing acute monoblastic leukemia in chicken. Oncogenic v-Myb alterations include N- and C-terminal deletions as well as point mutations. Whereas truncations in Myb cause loss of various protein modifications, none of the point mutations in v-Myb has been directly linked to protein modifications. Here we show that the DNA-binding domain of c-Myb can be phosphorylated on serine 116 by the catalytic subunit of protein kinase A. Phosphorylation of Ser 116 differentially destabilizes a subtype of c-Myb-DNA complexes. The V117D mutation of the AMV v-Myb oncoprotein abolishes phosphorylation of the adjacent Ser 116 residue. Modification of Ser 116 was also detected in live cells in c-Myb, but not in AMV v-Myb. Phosphorylation-mimicking mutants of c-Myb failed to activate the resident mim-1 gene. Our data imply that protein kinase A or a kinase with similar specificity negatively regulates c-Myb function, including collaboration with C/EBP, and that the leukemogenic AMV v-Myb version evades inactivation by a point mutation that abolishes a phosphoacceptor consensus site. This suggests a novel link between Myb, a signal transduction pathway, cooperativity with C/EBP, and a point mutation in the myb oncogene.