A number of chemical and physical agents were screened to determine their effectiveness in inducing simian virus (SV40) production in a virogenic clone of SV40-transformed Chinese hamster cells. Mitomycin C (MC) was the most effective inducing agent, and MC induction was further characterized. It was found that levels of infectious SV40 DNA were increased above control levels as early as 6 h after addition of MC to the culture medium and reached maximum levels by 48 h. Virus capsid (V) antigen and virions followed with a lag of about 24 h. V antigen production was sensitive to hydroxyurea, suggesting a dependence on virus DNA synthesis. The proportion of virus-producing cells (infectious centres) and the virus burst per cell were both stimulated by MC. Studies of H-thymidine incorporation demonstrated that the rate of SV40 DNA synthesis was maximal at 48 h post-induction, at which time cellular DNA synthesis was almost abolished. Caffeine, at doses not toxic to non-induced cells, strongly inhibited SV40 production in both non-induced and induced cells, suggesting some role for DNA repair mechanisms.


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