Murine erythroleukemia (MEL) cells are erythroid progenitors whose program of erythroid differentiation has been interrupted by transformation with the Friend virus complex. As a result of the ability of certain chemicals such as dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO) to induce terminal erythroid differentiation, the cells have been used as a model for understanding the molecular basis of cellular differentiation. Recent work on MEL cells as well as other differentiating systems indicates that expression of cellular protooncogenes is implicated in chemically mediated differentiation. In MEL cells the expression of the c-myc protooncogene undergoes unusual biphasic changes following inducer treatment. Levels of c-myc mRNA decrease 10- to 20-fold between 1 and 2 hr and are then reexpressed between 12 and 24 hr. These changes occur as a result of complex transcriptional and posttranscriptional regulatory events. Recent DNA transfection experiments, in which MEL cells were transfected with myc expression vectors, indicate that both the early decrease in c-myc expression and its subsequent reexpression are important events in the differentiation pathway. The work on MEL cells, as well as on other models of differentiation, is directed at understanding the molecular basis of leukemogenic transformation and cellular differentiation. The ability of c-myc, as well as other protooncogenes, to influence both of these events indicates that cellular protooncogenes play a central role in their regulation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis