Differentiation of PC12 phaeochromocytoma cells induced by v-src oncogene

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Abstract

PC 12 rat phaeochromocytoma cells1,2 are a model system that can be used to study both neuronal differentiation and the mechanism of action of nerve growth factor (NGF)3. PC12 cells respond to NGF protein by shifting from a chromaffin-cell-like phenotype to a neurite-bearing sympathetic neurone-like phenotype2,4,5. Here we present data on the effect of infection of PC 12 cells with retroviruses carrying the src oncogene of Rous sarcoma virus6. Previous studies have demonstrated that the expression of src severely affects the synthesis and accumulation of differentiated cell products in a variety of cell types7–9. We show that in the PC 12 cell system, expression of v-src appears to have an inductive effect on differentiation that resembles the action of a ‘physiological’ growth factor.

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