Variable expression of the translocated c-abl oncogene in Philadelphia-chromosome-positive B-lymphoid cell lines from chronic myelogenous leukemia patients
The consistent cytogenetic translocation of chronic myelogenous leukemia (the Philadelphia chromosome, Ph1) has been observed in cells of multiple hematopoietic lineages. This translocation creates a chimeric gene composed of breakpoint-cluster-region (bcr) sequences from chromosome 22 fused to a portion of the abl oncogene on chromosome 9. The resulting gene product (P210c-abl) resembles the transforming protein of the Abelson murine leukemia virus in its structure and tyrosine kinase activity. P210c-abl is expressed in Ph1-positive cell lines of myeloid lineage and in clinical specimens with myeloid predominance. We show here that Epstein-Barr virus-transformed B-lymphocyte lines that retain Ph1 can express P210c-abl. The level of expression in these B-cell lines is generally lower and more variable than that observed for myeloid lines. Protein expression is not related to amplification of the abl gene but to variation in the level of bcr-abl mRNA produced from a single Ph1 template.