The c-myc Story: Where we’ve been, Where we seem to be Going

  • M. Potter
  • K. B. Marcu
Part of the Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology book series (CT MICROBIOLOGY, volume 224)


The history of c-myc spans the panorama of discovery and technological development of our understanding of oncogenes. It begins indirectly in the early part of the century with the observations of Wilhelm Eilermann and Olaf Bang in 1908–9 who demonstrated that erythroleukemias in chickens could be transmitted with cell free filtrates. At the time there was prevailing doubt about the neoplastic nature of this leukemic process; even Ellermann and Bang thought it “represented an infection” (see [1]). The discovery was not heralded as a great conceptual breakthrough; but it nonetheless left a lasting impression. Two years later Peyton Rous, then a young investigator at the Rockefeller Institute in New York, successfully transmitted a fibrosarcoma arising in a Plymouth Rock chicken with cell free filtrates. Although there was greater acceptance of the neoplastic nature of this sarcoma, the result presented a perplexing problem because no one could explain how a tumor of the same histological type could be transmitted by a (cell free filtrate) virus. Within a year continued reports of other tumors in chickens that were transmissable by cell free extracts were described by Rous himself and Fujinami. Eventually, this enigma and the demands of WWI occasioned Rous himself to abandon this work. The first avian tumor that was found to contain what was to be later identified as v-myc was the Murray-Begg endothelioma known as MH-2 [2,3]. The virus ultimately isolated from this tumor contained both v-myc and v-raf-1 [4].


Burkitt Lymphoma Cell Free Filtrate Cellular Nucleic Acid Binding Protein Immunoglobulin Enhancer Lymphoid Leukosis 
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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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Potter
    • 1
  • K. B. Marcu
    • 2
  1. 1.National Cancer InstituteNIHBethesdaUSA
  2. 2.State University of New York at Stony BrookStony BrookUSA

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