The genetic structure and regulation of the c-myc gene was comprehensively studied for the first time in Burkitt's lymphoma with t(2;8) translocation. In a Burkitt's lymphoma cell line, KOBK101, the immunoglobulin k-encoding gene on chromosome 2, accompanied by its enhancer, was translocated to the pvt-1 locus located about 250 kb downstream from c-myc on chromosome 8. Only the c-myc allele on the translocated chromosome carried aberrant SalI and KpnI sites in the first intron, so the two c-myc alleles and their transcripts were analyzed separately. The c-myc allele on the untranslocated chromosome conserved the normal c-myc sequence and was transcriptionally silent. In contrast, the c-myc allele on the translocated chromosome was actively transcribed at three- to fivefold higher levels, as compared with non-malignant B-cell lines. Additionally, it carried predominant multiple mutations consisting of 64 nucleotide substitutions, three short deletions, and a one-base insertion, most of which clustered in the first exon and intron. The 24-base deletion in the first intron completely overlapped the binding site of a putative negative transcriptional factor of the 138-kDa phosphoprotein, MIF. Thus, the multiple mutations and the deregulated, allele-specific expression of c-myc were associated with the chromosomal translocation in cis. Together activation by the long-distance immunoglobulin k enhancer, and the alleviation of negative regulation by the mutations, seemed to cause the allele-specific activation of c-myc.
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