A 28-mer morpholino oligonucleotide analog was designed to hybridize to 8 bases of intron 1 and extend 2 bases beyond the translation initiation codon in exon 2 of the unspliced c-myc RNA transcript. Delivery of this compound into human chronic myeloid leukemia KYO1 cells, by streptolysin O permeabilization, resulted in almost total ablation of the 65 kDa c-MYC protein expression for at least 24 hours after treatment. An unexpected band with SDS-PAGE electrophoretic mobility indicating a protein of about 47 kDa was apparent on the 24-hour western blots that were developed using antibodies that recognize MYC protein C terminal epitopes. No inhibition of the approximately 2400 nt c-myc mRNA expression was observed by northern hybridization, a result of the inability of morpholino analogs to direct the activity of ribonuclease H. In fact, high molecular weight c-myc RNA species were found to have accumulated in antisense-treated KYO1 cells. Control sense and scrambled antisense morpholino analogs did not inhibit MYC protein expression or induce the appearance of the anomalous RNA and protein bands. Molecular analyses by RT-PCR and sequencing revealed that the morpholino antisense effector had (1) inhibited splicing of the c-myc pre-mRNA, (2) induced missplicing of the pre-mRNA, and (3) inhibited translation of normal spliced c-myc mRNA. Identical results were obtained with acute promyelocytic leukemia, acute lymphoblastic leukemia, and histiocytic lymphoma cell lines.