When a monolayer culture of HeLa cells persistently infected with haemadsorption type 2 virus (HeLa/HA2) was dispersed by trypsin and plated on a monolayer culture of uninfected HeLa cells, syncytia developed. For induction of the syncytia, it was specifically pre-requisite to treat the carrier cells with trypsin. The formation of syncytia started at 1 h and was completed by 4 h, followed by the synthesis of virus antigens in the syncytia. The presence of cycloheximide at a concentration of 50 µg/ml did not inhibit the syncytium formation but the presence of antiviral serum completely suppressed it. The results indicated that the principle responsible for the cell fusion is not only of virus nature but also localized in a masked form on the surface of the carrier cells and that the trypsin treatment efficiently activates it. The mechanism of cell fusion in this system and the applicability of the above procedure to the isolation of causative agents from the lesions with which paramyxovirus-like structures are latently associated are discussed.


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