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Blood. 1988 Mar;71(3):697-702.

Long-range mapping of the Philadelphia chromosome by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis.

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  • 1University of Chicago, Department of Medicine, IL 60637.


The Philadelphia chromosome (Ph1) of chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) contains sequences from chromosome 9, including the ABL protooncogene, that have been translocated to the breakpoint cluster region (bcr) of chromosome 22, giving rise to a bcr-ABL fusion gene, whose product has been implicated in the genesis of CML. Although chromosome 22 translocation breakpoints in CML virtually always occur within the 5.8-kilobase (kb) bcr, chromosome 9 breakpoints have been identified within the known limits of ABL in only a few instances. For a better understanding of the variability of the breakpoints on chromosome 9, we studied the CML cell line BV173. Using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), large-scale maps of the t(9;22) junctions were constructed. The chromosome 9 breakpoint was shown to have occurred within an ABL intron, 160 kb upstream of the v-abl homologous sequences, but still 35 kb downstream of the 5'-most ABL exon. bcr-ABL and ABL-bcr fusion genes were demonstrated on the Ph1 and the 9q+ chromosomes, respectively; both of these genes are expressed. These results suggest that the 9;22 translocation breakpoints in CML consistently occur within the limits of the large ABL gene. RNA splicing, sometimes of very large regions, appears to compensate for the variability in breakpoint location. These studies show that PFGE is a powerful new tool for the analysis of chromosomal translocations in human malignancies.

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