Melanocyte fate in neural crest is triggered by Myb proteins through activation of c-kit
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- Karafiat, V., Dvorakova, M., Pajer, P. et al. Cell. Mol. Life Sci. (2007) 64: 2975. doi:10.1007/s00018-007-7330-5
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The c-myb proto-oncogene and its oncogenic derivative v−mybAMV encode transcriptional regulators engaged in the commitment of hematopoietic cells. While the c-Myb protein is important for the formation and differentiation of various progenitors, the v−MybAMV oncoprotein induces in chicks a progression and transformation of the single (monoblastic) cell lineage. Here we present the first evidence of cell fate-directing abilities of c-Myb and v−MybAMV proteins in avian neural crest (NC), where both proteins determine melanocytogenesis. The increased concentration of c-Myb induces progression into dendritic melanocytes and differentiation. The v-myb oncogene converts essentially all NC cells into melanocytes and causes their transformation. Both Myb proteins activate in NC cells expression of the c-kit gene and stem cell factor c-Kit signaling – one of the essential pathways in melanocyte development. These observations suggest that the c-myb-c-kit pathway represents a common regulatory scheme for both hematopoietic and neural progenitors and establishes a novel experimental model for studies of melanocytogenesis and melanocyte transformation.