Abstract

The productively rearranged immunoglobulin mu chain gene and the translocated cellular oncogene c-myc are transcribed at high levels both in human Burkitt lymphoma cells carrying the t(8;14) chromosome translocation and in mouse plasmacytoma X Burkitt lymphoma cell hybrids. In the experiments reported here these genes were found to be repressed in mouse 3T3 fibroblast X Burkitt lymphoma cell hybrids. Such repression probably occurs at the transcriptional level since no human mu- and c-myc messenger RNA's are detectable in hybrid clones carrying the corresponding genes. It is therefore concluded that the ability to express these genes requires a differential B cell environment. The results suggest that the 3T3 cell assay may not be suitable to detect oncogenes directly involved in human B cell oncogenesis, since 3T3 cells apparently are incapable of transcribing an oncogene that is highly active in malignant B cells with specific chromosomal translocations.