Cellular myc oncogene is altered by chromosome translocation to an immunoglobulin locus in murine plasmacytomas and is rearranged similarly in human Burkitt lymphomas

J. M. Adams, S. Gerondakis, E. Webb, L. M. Corcoran, S. Cory

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Molecular cloning has recently established that the 15;12 chromosome translocations in murine plasmacytomas fuse DNA from chromosome 15 to the immunoglobulin heavy (H) chain locus, usually within the switch recombination region near the α constant region gene. We show here that the incoming DNA bears the cellular gene (c-myc) homologous to the oncogene (v-myc) of avian retrovirus MC29. In human Burkitt lymphomas bearing an 8;14 translocation, c-myc was also rearranged, apparently (in at least two cases) to an H chain switch recombination region (μ or α), and both products of a reciprocal chromosome exchange were detectable. Both the murine and human c-myc genes contain two exons homologous to v-myc, and additional 5' and 3' murine genomic segments (apparent exons) were defined by hybridization to c-myc mRNAs. In plasmacytomas, chromosome breakpoints fall near or within the 5' exon and apparently disrupt the normal c-myc transcriptional unit, because plasmacytoma c-myc mRNAs differ from the mRNA in lines without c-myc rearrangement. The translocated gene presumably has lost its normal 5' regulatory sequences and may well encode an altered myc polypeptide. We propose that altered expression of the c-myc gene, induced by translocation to an immunoglobulin locus, is a critical oncogenic event for these B lymphoid tumors. Two events may be required, because the plasmacytoma oncogene capable of transforming fibroblasts is not c-myc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1982-1986
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number7 I
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1983
Externally publishedYes

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