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J Virol. 2008 Dec;82(24):12585-8. doi: 10.1128/JVI.01726-08. Epub 2008 Oct 8.

Identification of gammaretroviruses constitutively released from cell lines used for human immunodeficiency virus research.

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  • 1Wohl Virion Centre, Division of Infection and Immunity, University College London, London W1T 4JF, United Kingdom.


Three human cell lines used in human immunodeficiency virus research were found to be contaminated with previously undetected retroviruses. On the bases of partial nucleotide sequence, capsid protein antigenicity, vector mobilization, and receptor usage studies, these contaminants were shown to be replication competent and to belong to the Gammaretrovirus genus. While the TZM-bl cells harbor ecotropic murine leukemia virus (MLV), Jurkat J6 cells were found to release xenotropic MLV and the A3.01/F7 cells to produce gibbon ape leukemia virus. These findings highlight the importance of routine testing of cell lines for retrovirus contamination to prevent potential experimental artifacts and allow correct biohazard assessment.

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