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Exp Cell Res. 1987 Aug;171(2):389-403.

Heterogeneity of a human T-lymphoblastoid cell line.


A human T-lymphoblastoid cell line (Jurkat) was cloned, and four resulting sublines were characterized in a variety of ways with the objective of gaining information on heterogeneity in cell lines. Within a few weeks of cloning, distinct cellular morphologies and growth patterns became apparent in the four sublines. Growth rate measurements made over 3 months did not show any significant differences between the sublines. Surface protein profiles obtained by radioimmunoprecipitation using antisera in conjunction with extracts from [35S]Met and 125I-labeled cells revealed differences between the sublines. Analysis of total cell DNA showed that one of the sublines possessed only half the chromosome complement of the other sublines and the parental line. Karyotyping confirmed this result and, in addition, demonstrated that chromosome numbers fluctuated around a mean value for each subline. Karyotypic variability became apparent within 2 months of cloning and tended to increase with time in culture. G-banding analysis showed that the analyzed cell populations contained distinctive cytogenetic aberrations. Properties of the cloned sublines were monitored over a 9-month period. One of the sublines that had shown heterogeneous morphology even after 6 weeks maintained the heterogeneity throughout this time. Another subline underwent a marked change in morphology (round to irregular) and growth habit (single cells to large clumps) with increasing time in culture. Interestingly, several alterations to surface proteins accompanied these growth changes. A third subline had relatively stable morphology and chromosome number throughout the 9-month period. The modal chromosome number was hypotetraploid for three sublines and the parent line, but was diploid for another subline. However, it was interesting that progression toward tetraploidy in this subline was apparent after almost 2 years of culturing. The results showed that the original cell line consisted of a heterogeneous assemblage of cell types, some of which were quite unstable. Some implications for research using cultured cell lines are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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