The CML-specific P210 bcr/abl protein, unlike v-abl, does not transform NIH/3T3 fibroblasts

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Science  31 Jul 1987:
Vol. 237, Issue 4814, pp. 532-535
DOI: 10.1126/science.2440107


The v-abl oncogene of the Abelson murine leukemia virus (A-MuLV) is known to efficiently transform NIH/3T3 fibroblasts in vitro and to cause an acute lymphosarcoma in susceptible murine hosts. The role of its relative, the bcr/abl gene product, in the etiology of human chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) remains speculative. To assess the transforming properties of the bcr/abl gene product, complementary DNA clones encoding the CML-specific P210 bcr/abl protein were expressed in NIH/3T3 fibroblasts. In contrast to the v-abl oncogene product P160, the P210 bcr/abl gene product did not transform NIH/3T3 cells. Cell lines were isolated that expressed high levels of the P210 bcr/abl protein but were morphologically normal. During the course of these experiments, a transforming recombinant of bcr/abl was isolated which fuses gag determinants derived from helper virus to the NH2-terminus of the bcr/abl protein. This suggests that a property of viral gag sequences, probably myristylation-dependent membrane localization, must be provided to bcr/abl for it to transform fibroblasts.