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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Aug 1, 1993; 90(15): 7361–7365.

Detection of recombinations between c-myc and immunoglobulin switch alpha in murine plasma cell tumors and preneoplastic lesions by polymerase chain reaction.


Virtually all murine plasmacytomas carry chromosomal translocations that activate c-myc. The predominant (approximately 90%) c-myc-activating chromosomal translocation in pristane (2,6,10,14-tetramethylpentadecane)-induced plasmacytomas in BALB/c mice is a reciprocal translocation t(12;15) in which an immunoglobulin heavy-chain switch sequence is joined to the 5' region of c-myc. The most common switch region involved is S alpha. We developed a direct PCR method to screen for recombinations between c-myc and S alpha. The critical step in establishing the method was the cloning and sequencing of the 5' flank of C alpha, a region with a reduced number of switch repeats that is much more favorable for designing specific PCR primers than the highly repetitive S alpha region. In applying this PCR method, we detected translocation-specific junction fragments in transplanted (10/16, 63%) and primary (5/15, 33%) plasmacytomas. Moreover, the sensitivity of a nested version of that technique allowed us to discern rare t(12;15)s in BALB/c mice in the preneoplastic stage of plasmacytoma-genesis (8/20 mice, 40%) as early as 30 days after administration of pristane. We conclude that t(12;15) is the probable primary, if not initiating, oncogenic step in plasmacytomagenesis.

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