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Cell. 1987 Oct 9;51(1):33-40.

Unique fusion of bcr and c-abl genes in Philadelphia chromosome positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

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  • 1Department of Cell Biology and Genetics Erasmus University, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


The Philadelphia (Ph) chromosome, the product of t(9:22), is the cytogenetic hallmark of chronic myelogenous leukemia. The c-abl oncogene on chromosome 9 is translocated to the Ph chromosome and linked to a breakpoint cluster region (bcr), which is part of a large bcr gene. This results in the formation of a bcr-c-abl fusion gene, which is transcribed into an 8.5 kb chimeric mRNA encoding a 210 kd bcr-c-abl fusion protein. The Ph chromosome is also found in acute lymphoblastic leukemia (Ph+ ALL). Although the c-abl is translocated and a new 190 kd c-abl protein has been identified, no breakpoints are observed in the bcr (Ph+bcr- ALL). Here we show that in Ph+bcr- ALL, breakpoints in chromosome 22 occur within the same bcr gene, but more 5' of the bcr. Cloning of a chimeric bcr-c-abl cDNA demonstrates that the fusion gene is transcribed into a 7 kb mRNA, encoding a novel fusion protein.

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