We have analyzed the organization and expression of the immunoglobulin heavy and light chain gene in the human myeloblastic leukemic sublines, ML1, ML2, and ML3, and in the human myeloid leukemic cell lines, HL-60, U937, THP1, and K562. ML1, ML2, and ML3 cells, despite a predominant granulocytic phenotype, express a rearrangement of the immunoglobulin heavy chain gene that typically occurs during the early stages of the B cell differentiation pathway. No rearrangement was found in any of the other cell lines tested. These findings strongly support the notion that, at least in some cases, acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cells represent highly atypical cells with profoundly altered gene expression, rather than cells arrested at a well-defined stage of the myeloid lineage.

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