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Oncogene. 1996 Jul 4;13(1):105-15.

A bcl-2/IgH antisense transcript deregulates bcl-2 gene expression in human follicular lymphoma t(14;18) cell lines.

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  • 1Institute of General Pathology, University of Florence, Italy.


The 14;18 chromosome translocation, characteristic of most human follicular B-cell lymphomas, juxtaposes the bcl-2 gene with the IgH locus, creating a bcl-2/IgH hybrid gene. By mechanisms that are still under investigation, this event increases the cellular levels of the bcl-2 mRNA and thereby induces an overproduction of the antiapoptotic BCL-2 protein which is likely responsible for neoplastic transformation. In an effort to identify potential upregulators of bcl-2 activity in t(14;18) cells, we found, by strand-specific RT-PCR, a bcl-2 antisense transcript that is present in the t(14;18) DOHH2 and SU-DHL-4 but not in the t(14;18)-negative Raji and Jurkat lymphoid cell lines, and thus appears to be dependent on the bcl-2/IgH fusion. This antisense transcript is a hybrid bc1-2/IgH RNA, that originates in the IgH locus, encompasses the t(14;18) fusion site and spans at least the complete 3' UTR region of the bcl-2 mRNA. To achieve some insight into its biological function, we treated the t(14;18) DOHH2 cell line with oligonucleotides (ODNs) by specifically targeting the bc1-2/IgH antisense strand. These ODNs lowered bcl-2 gene expression, inhibited neoplastic cell growth by inducing apoptosis. We would like to propose the hypothesis that the bc1-2/IgH antisense transcript may contribute, by an unknown mechanism, to upregulation of bcl-2 gene expression in t(14;18) cells. The possibility has been considered that the hybrid antisense transcript mask AU-rich motifs present in the 3' UTR of the bcl-2 mRNA characterized in other genes as mRNA destabilizing elements.

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