The chromosomal translocation t(15;17)(q22;q12) is a consistent feature of acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) that results in the disruption of genes for the zinc finger transcription factor PML and the retinoic acid receptor alpha (RAR alpha). We have previously shown that PML is a growth suppressor and is able to suppress transformation of NIH/3T3 by activated neu oncogene. In the study presented here, the full-length PML cDNA was transfected into B104-1-1 cells (NIH/3T3 cells transformed by the activated neu oncogene) by retrovirally mediated gene transfer. We found that expression of PML could reverse phenotypes of B104-1-1 including morphology, contact-limiting properties, and growth rate in both transient-expression and stable transfectants. We also demonstrated that PML is able to suppress clonogenicity of B104-1-1 in soft agar assay and tumorigenicity in nude mice. These results strongly support our previous finding that PML is a transformation or growth suppressor. Our results further demonstrate that expression of PML in B104-1-1 cells has little effect on cell cycle distribution. Western blot analysis demonstrated that suppression of neu expression in B104-1-1 by PML was insignificant in the transient transfection experiment but significant in the PML stable transfectants. This study suggests that PML may suppress neu expression and block signaling events associated with activated neu. This study supports our hypothesis that disruption of the normal function of PML, a growth or transformation suppressor, is a critical event in APL leukomogenesis.

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