Myc proto-oncoproteins are important regulators of growth and proliferation in development. Their functions have been evolutionarily conserved from insects to vertebrates, although the sequence conservation is limited to a few short domains. Here, we analyze the requirement for the most highly conserved domains, called Myc boxes 2 and 3 (MB2 and MB3), and for the weakly conserved N-terminus for the biological activity of the single Drosophila Myc protein in the animal in vivo. We find that a Myc mutant lacking the N-terminus retains very little activity, whereas Myc transgenes carrying a deletion of MB3 have a moderately increased ability to promote growth and apoptosis; mutation of MB2 reduces transcriptional output and the biological activities of Myc. Surprisingly though, Myc without MB2 retains enough activity to partially rescue the lethality of a Myc null mutation. Thus, although MB2 and MB3 are highly conserved in evolution, loss of either domain has comparatively
mild consequences on Myc activity in vivo.