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In what one of the principal investigators refers to as "one of life's gentle ironies," two teams of researchers recently simultaneously announced the identification of a protein product of an oncogene (Science 1983; 221:275-276; Nature 1983;304:35-39).
The oncogene, sis, is associated with the simian sarcoma virus; its product appears to be plateletderived growth factor (PDGF). The linking of the two represents the first association of a previously identified oncogene with a protein known to have a normal physiological function—in this case, the stimulation of fibroblastic and neuroglial cell proliferation.
The discovery has intriguing implications on several levels. It provides long-sought evidence that an oncogene codes for a cellular growth factor. Because PDGF stimulates growth in normal cells, its overproduction could be a factor in the genesis of tumor cells. This possibility is reinforced by the fact that sarcomas and gliomas, human tumors in which there is evidence of heavy sis
Merz B. Publishing flurry attends oncogene—growth factor link. JAMA. 1983;250(9):1127-1131. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03340090005003