- Expression of the c-myc gene is suppressed in NIH 3T3 mouse fibroblast cells infected with recombinant retroviruses expressing high levels of v-myc (10-fold greater than those of c-myc). Suppression of steady state levels of c-myc mRNA occurred at least in part at the level of transcription from c-myc promoters P1 and P2, and involved v-myc protein since cells infected with constructs containing frameshifts and deletions in v-myc had normal levels of c-myc mRNA and protein. Suppression of c-myc expression was also observed in fibroblasts transfected with a N-myc expression vector and in fibroblasts infected with a c-myc retrovirus. These findings establish that v-myc protein is involved either directly or indirectly in a regulatory circuit which represses c-myc proto-oncogene transcription. Feedback regulation of c-myc transcription may be relevant in establishing the lineage specific expression of myc family proto-oncogenes. Reduced steady state levels of c-myc mRNA were also observed in NIH 3T3 cells infected with 12S and 13S EIA recombinant retroviruses suggesting that the exogenous oncogene of adenovirus, EIA, can alleviate the requirement of myc for cell growth and may also share transcriptional target genes.