A link between ABL oncogenes and MYC is suggested by the transformation synergy that is observed when MYC is expressed at high levels. Dominant negative MYC proteins were overexpressed in fibroblasts to determine if MYC complements ABL oncogene transformation or is essential for this process. Transformation by both v-abl and BCR-ABL oncogenes was reduced 5- to 10-fold, whereas transformation by the serine/threonine kinase oncogene v-mos was unaffected. Using a retrovirus construct modified to express BCR-ABL and MYC genes simultaneously, we show that dominant negative MYC suppressed transformation of primary mouse bone marrow pre-B cells by BCR-ABL. These observations demonstrate that c-MYC is essential for transformation and help define the pathway by which these proteins cause transformation.