Effect of oncogenic virus on muscle differentiation

H. Holtzer, J. Biehl, G. Yeoh, R. Meganathan, A. Kaji

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

149 Citations (Scopus)


Chick muscle cultures infected with wildtype Rous sarcoma virus form myotubes, but these myotubes vacuolate and by day 6 most have degenerated, leaving only large numbers of transformed mononucleated, replicating cells. Muscle cultures infected with a temperature sensitive mutant (TS) at permissive temperatures behave as cells infected with wild type Rous sarcoma virus. TS infected cells reared for 8 days at nonpermissive temperature form contracting myotubes, plus large numbers of fibroblastic cells. If these cultures are lowered to permissive temperature, within 72 hr the myotubes vacuolate and degenerate, whereas the mononucleated cells transform. If replicating TS transformed cells after 8 days at permissive temperature are shifted to nonpermissive temperature, within 72 hr many cells fuse and form contracting, post mitotic myotubes. Creatine kinase (ATP:creatine N phosphotransferase, EC levels parallel the formation and degeneration of myotubes during these temperature shifts. If the viral transforming gene is expressed in the post mitotic myotubes it is lethal, whereas it is not lethal if expressed in replicating precursor myogenic cells. The viral gene expression at permissive temperature blocks further myogenesis depending on the position of the cells in the myogenic program. The virus does not cancel the replicating, transformed myogenic cells' commitment to, or position in, the myogenic lineage. When the transforming action of the virus is suppressed, the normal myogenic program resumes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4051-4055
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 1975
Externally publishedYes


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