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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Translocated c-myc oncogene of Burkitt lymphoma is transcribed in plasma cells and repressed in lymphoblastoid cells.

We examined somatic cell hybrids between Burkitt lymphoma cells and either human lymphoblastoid cells or mouse plasmacytoma cells for the expression of the translocated c-myc oncogene. The results of this study indicate that the translocated c-myc oncogene is transcribed in plasma cells but is repressed in lymphoblastoid cells. Thus, the factors necessary for translocated c-myc transcription are present in plasma cells and Burkitt lymphoma cells but are absent or inactive in lymphoblastoid cells. Since the distance between the rearranged immunoglobulin loci and the c-myc oncogene can even exceed 30-50 kilobases, we speculate that the translocated c-myc oncogene is under the transcriptional control of enhancer-like elements capable of acting over long distances. The activity of this long-range enhancer may depend on the interaction with transacting factors that are active in plasma cells and in Burkitt lymphoma cells but are not active in lymphoblastoid cells. We also examined the transcription of the first exon of the c-myc oncogene, which becomes separated from the second and third exon because of the chromosomal break involving the first intron. This exon is transcribed at high levels in ST486 Burkitt lymphoma cells with the t(8;14) chromosome translocation. Hybrids between lymphoblastoid and ST486 cells expressed high levels of transcripts of the first exon, whereas hybrids between plasma cells and ST486 cells did not. Thus, transcription of the separated first exon can be enhanced in lymphoblastoid and Burkitt lymphoma cells because of its close proximity to the heavy chain enhancer that is normally located between the joining and the switch region of the C mu gene. Such enhancement, however, does not occur in plasma cells, possibly because these cells are able to suppress completely the c-myc oncogene, unless it has been placed in the proximity of a rearranged immunoglobulin constant region gene.[1]


  1. Translocated c-myc oncogene of Burkitt lymphoma is transcribed in plasma cells and repressed in lymphoblastoid cells. Croce, C.M., Erikson, J., ar-Rushdi, A., Aden, D., Nishikura, K. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (1984) [Pubmed]
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