The isolation and characterization of four groups of BK virus (BKV)-transformed rat embryo fibroblast (RE) and mouse kidney (MK) cells are described. They consist of (1) seven RE lines transformed with a BKV pool containing a high proportion of defective virions, and (2) 16 RE, (3) 14 Balb/c-MK and (4) 2 Swiss ICR-MK lines, all transformed, at different input multiplicities, with a pool of BKV free of defective virions.

None of the lines produces BKV, all contain BKV T antigen and all grow to higher saturation densities and have higher plating efficiencies than do the corresponding control cells. Cells of the RE lines, transformed with the BKV pool containing defective virions, form colonies in soft agar and produce tumours in irradiated weanling rats, while those of the RE lines transformed with the defective virion-free pool do neither. Cells of the Balb/c-MK, but not of the ICR-MK lines are tumorigenic, although cells of both groups form colonies in soft agar. In general, those lines transformed at higher multiplicities express the biological properties associated with transformation more strongly than do those transformed at lower multiplicities.


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