Human N-myc gene contributes to neoplastic transformation of mammalian cells in culture

Nature. 1985 Jul 11-17;316(6024):160-2. doi: 10.1038/316160a0.


Proto-oncogenes represent a group of eukaryotic genes whose activated forms are implicated in the development of cancer. We have recently identified a human gene, N-myc, that is distantly related to the proto-oncogene c-myc. N-myc is expressed at abnormally high levels consequent to amplification in numerous human neuroblastoma cell lines and metastatic neuroblastoma tumours. In addition, enhanced expression of N-myc, often a result of amplification, has been found in retinoblastoma cell lines and tumours (refs 5, 7 and M.S., unpublished data) and in cell lines derived from small-cell carcinomas of the lung. Here, we show that enhanced expression of N-myc subsequent to co-transfections of an N-myc expression vector and the mutant c-Ha-ras-1(EJ) (from the human bladder carcinoma cell line EJ) is a factor in tumorigenic conversion of secondary rat embryo cells. The transformed cells elicit tumours in athymic mice and isogeneic rats. The ability of N-myc to contribute to neoplastic transformation of cultured mammalian cells raises the possibility that enhanced expression consequent to amplification of N-myc may be a factor in the aetiology of human neuroblastoma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / etiology
  • Oncogenes*
  • Phenotype
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • Rats
  • Transfection


  • RNA, Messenger