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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1992 Apr 1;89(7):3116-9.

Stable growth transformation of human T lymphocytes by herpesvirus saimiri.

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  • 1Institut für Klinische und Molekulare Virologie, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Federal Republic of Germany.


Herpesvirus saimiri induces T-cell lymphomas in various species of New World monkeys and in rabbits, and it is able to immortalize monkey T lymphocytes in vitro. Sequences responsible for these effects have been localized to a region of the genome that varies significantly among the virus subgroups A, B, and C. We now report that infection of human blood lymphocytes and thymocytes with strains of subgroup C, in contrast to viruses of the other subgroups, yields continuously proliferating T-cell lines with the phenotype of mature CD4- or CD8-positive cells. Infection with strains of Herpes-virus saimiri subgroup C can thus be used to generate human T-cell lines for a variety of immunological and developmental studies.

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