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Eur J Immunol. 1987 Oct;17(10):1491-8.

A murine macrophage cell line, immortalized by v-raf and v-myc oncogenes, exhibits normal macrophage functions.

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Laboratory of Molecular Immunoregulation, National Cancer Institute, Frederick.


In vitro immortalized cell lines with the morphology and phenotype of mature macrophages (M phi) have been generated by infecting freshly isolated bone marrow cells from C3H/HeJ mice with a recombinant retrovirus carrying v-raf and v-myc oncogenes. All of the clones obtained had M phi-like phenotypes, and one such clone, GG2EE, has been compared to normal M phi to ascertain the effects of immortalization on the expression of the biological functions of the lines. GG2EE cells expressed cytotoxic activity against L5178Y, P815 or RL male 1 target cells in response to stimulation with interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) and heat-killed Listeria monocytogenes; in contrast, they failed to kill YAC-1 target cells. GG2EE cells did not constitutively express I-A or I-E antigens; nevertheless, I region-coded antigens could be induced by IFN-gamma treatment. GG2EE cells produced interleukin 1 upon stimulation with a T cell-derived lymphokine; they were weakly phagocytic, yet became highly phagocytic following IFN-gamma treatment. Since c-fos mRNA is augmented in peritoneal exudate M phi by protein kinase C activators but not by IFN-gamma, we evaluated the effects of calcium ionophore, phorbol myristate acetate, L-alpha-1-oleoyl-2-acetoyl-sn-3 glycerol (OAG) and IFN-gamma on the levels of c-fos mRNA in GG2EE cells. We found that calcium ionophore, PMA and OAG stimulation enhanced the expression of c-fos mRNA, but IFN-gamma treatment did not. The kinetics of c-fos induction in GG2EE cells were also comparable to those observed in peritoneal exudate M phi. Overall, the GG2EE cell line has the same biological properties as normal tissue M phi. Because it is capable of both constitutive and inducible M phi-like functions, this cell line provides a valuable tool for studying the molecular mechanisms controlling induction and/or expression of biological activities in M phi. It is striking that a cell line immortalized in vitro by two oncogenes, v-raf and v-myc, behaves, according to the criteria mentioned above, like a normal M phi population.

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