The c-Myc encoded by this gene is a multifunctional, nuclear phosphoprotein that plays a role in cell cycle progression, apoptosis and cellular transformation. It functions as a transcription factor that regulates transcription of specific target genes. Mutations, overexpression, rearrangement and translocation of this gene have been associated with a variety of hematopoietic tumors, leukemias and lymphomas, including Burkitt lymphoma. There is evidence to show that alternative translation initiations from an upstream, in-frame non-AUG (CUG) and a downstream AUG start site result in the production of two isoforms with distinct N-termini. The synthesis of non-AUG initiated protein is suppressed in Burkitt's lymphomas, suggesting its importance in the normal function of this gene.