Selective elevation of c-myc RNA transcripts during clonal evolution of N-methyl-N-nitrosourea induced thymic lymphomas in AKR/J mice

Sandra Lorraine Stettner, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


Untreated AKR mice develop spontaneous thymic lymphomas by 6-12 months of age. Lymphoma development is accelerated when young mice are injected with the carcinogen N-methyl-N-nitrosourea (MNU). Selected molecular and cellular events were compared during the latent period preceding "spontaneous" (retrovirally-induced) and MNU-induced thymic lymphoma development in AKR mice. These studies were undertaken to test the hypothesis that thymic lymphomas induced in the same inbred mouse strain by endogenous retroviruses and by a chemical carcinogen develop by different mechanisms. Immunofluorescence analysis of differentiation antigens showed that most MNU-induced lymphomas express an immature CD4-8+ profile. In contrast, spontaneous lymphomas represent each of the major lymphocyte subsets. These data suggest involvement of different target populations in MNU-induced and spontaneous lymphomas. Analyses at intervals after MNU treatment revealed selective expansion of the CD4-8+ J11d+ thymocyte subset at 8-10 weeks post-MNU in 68% of the animals examined, suggesting that these cells are targets for MNU-induced lymphomagenesis. Untreated age-matched animals showed no selective expansion of thymocyte subsets. Previous data have shown that both spontaneous and MNU-induced lymphomas are monoclonal or oligoclonal. Distinct rearrangement patterns of the J$\sb2$ region of the T-cell receptor $\beta$-chain showed emergence of clonal thymocyte populations beginning at 6-7 weeks after MNU treatment. However, lymphocytes from untreated animals showed no evidence of clonal expansion at the time intervals investigated. Activation of c-myc frequently occurs during development of B- and T- cell lymphomas. Both spontaneous and MNU-induced lymphomas showed increased c-myc transcript levels. Increased c-myc transcription was first detected at 6 weeks post-MNU, and persisted throughout the latent period. However, untreated animals showed no increases in c-myc transcripts at the time intervals examined. Another nuclear oncogene, c-fos, did not display a similar change in RNA transcription during the latent period. These results supports the hypothesis that MNU-induced and spontaneous tumors develop by multi-step pathways which are distinct with respect to the target cell population affected. Clonal emergence and c-myc deregulation are important steps in the development of both MNU-induced and spontaneous tumors, but the onset of these events is later in spontaneous tumor development.

Subject Area

Molecular biology

Recommended Citation

Stettner, Sandra Lorraine, "Selective elevation of c-myc RNA transcripts during clonal evolution of N-methyl-N-nitrosourea induced thymic lymphomas in AKR/J mice" (1990). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9033107.