Restriction mapping of polyoma virus DNA in mammary tumours of athymic mice gave patterns that varied with the tumour examined. These reflected differences in both the organization and the state of integration of virus genomes in the host chromosomes. All tumours contained tandemly integrated full-length and defective virus genomes. Some tumours also contained unintegrated virus DNA molecules, some full-length and others defective. The deletions were localized in the virus genomic sequences coding for the distal part of the large T antigen. After the first transplantation, the organization of polyoma virus genomes in tumours remained essentially unchanged through four successive transplantations. The tumour cells that initially contained free virus DNA molecules continued to possess such molecules during serial transplantations. The virus DNA molecules in transplanted tumours lacking unintegrated virus genomes were more methylated than in tumours containing unintegrated virus genomes.


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