Effect of Oncogenes on Cell Differentiation

  • D. Boettiger
  • D. Chalmers
Part of the Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology book series (HEP, volume 94 / 2)


The processes of cell transformation in tissue culture and neoplastic transformation in vivo produce cells which are recognizable by their distinctive morphology and by their ability to proliferate under conditions which do not support, or severely limit, the proliferation of their normal counterparts. The altered morphology is recognized by the pathologist in tumor biopsies and is used not only for diagnosis of malignancy but also for tumor staging and prognostic prediction. In tissue culture the altered cell morphology is recognized as foci of cells which are morphologically distinct from the parental-type cells which surround the focus. This has been used for the development of assays for oncogenic viruses (Temin and Rubin 1958) and for the identification of oncogenes derived from tumors and introduced into the indicator cells by DNA transfection (Shih et al. 1979; Cooper 1982). In both cases the diagnosis or identification of the altered cells may be aided by the excess proliferation of these cells in relation to their normal counterparts. The altered morphology is an indication of changes in the synthesis of products which allow us to distinguish cell types. Typically, these are not products required for cell survival, although the synthesis of “house-keeping” products may be quantitatively altered. They reveal alterations in cell-type specific products or developmentally regulated products. Thus, the morphological changes are indicators of changes affecting the differentiation of the cell. This idea is strengthened by analysis of the synthesis of these differentiated cell products using biochemical and molecular biological techniques.


Rous Sarcoma Virus Avian Myeloblastosis Virus Cellular Homologue Avian Sarcoma Virus Murine Mammary Tumor Virus 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. Boettiger
  • D. Chalmers

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