Spleen cultures from various strains of mice were infected with murine cytomegalovirus (MCMV). Infectious centres were established in a small proportion (not greater than 1%) of the cells. Virus could be rescued from these cells by co-cultivation with syngeneic or allogeneic fibroblasts, but the frequency of rescue could not be altered by incubation with cyclic nucleotide analogues, iododeoxy-uridine, cortisol, or allogeneic spleen cells. In addition a smaller fraction of the cell population, possibly a sub-population of the infectious centres, replicated virus spontaneously. The presence of mitogens did not affect these interactions qualitatively or quantitatively. A third response to infection was an inhibition in DNA synthesis, which was suffered by unstimulated cultures and by cells transformed by concanavalin A and bacterial lipopolysaccharides, although overall cell viability was maintained. This response was also mediated by u.v.-inactivated virus.


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