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J Virol. 1986 Feb;57(2):701-5.

Nononcogenic deletion mutants of herpesvirus saimiri are defective for in vitro immortalization.


Herpesvirus saimiri L-DNA sequences between 0.0 and 4.0 map units (4.5 kilobase pairs) are required for oncogenicity; these sequences are not required for replication of the virus. To investigate the basis for the lack of oncogenicity of mutants with deletions in this region and to study the function of this region, we developed a reliable system for in vitro immortalization by herpesvirus saimiri. In contrast to peripheral blood lymphocytes from cotton-top tamarins (Saguinus oedipus) and owl monkeys (Aotus sp.), infection of peripheral blood lymphocytes from common marmosets (Callithrix jacchus) in vitro with herpesvirus saimiri consistently yielded continuously growing lymphoblastoid cell lines. Such cell lines were established using strains of herpesvirus saimiri from group A and group non-A, non-B; however, repeated attempts to immortalize common marmoset peripheral blood lymphocytes using strains from group B were not successful. Common marmoset cell lines immortalized by herpesvirus saimiri were T12+, T8+, T4-, and B1-, indicating that they were derived from suppressor/cytotoxic T lymphocytes. Cell lines could not be established using the nononcogenic mutants 11att and S4, both of which were derived from the group A strain 11 virus. Strain 11att has a spontaneous deletion and S4 has a constructed deletion in the 0.0 to 4.0 map unit region. Constructed strains which had these deleted sequences restored did immortalize common marmoset peripheral blood lymphocytes. Thus, the nononcogenic deletion mutants are defective for immortalization. This system should facilitate attempts to define the sequences responsible for immortalization and to determine their function.

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