Quantitative aspects of Epstein—Barr virus infection and transformation of human neonatal B-lymphocytes have been investigated. 72 to 90% B-cells were obtained with enrichment. Of the B-cells, 19 to 97% showed nuclear antigen (EBNA) 2 days after infection. A difference between different B-cell donors in susceptibility to infection was noted. Analysis of the virus dose—response curves obtained with twofold virus dilutions showed that one virus particle is sufficient to induce EBNA in a cell. Of the infected cells, 50 to 95% multiplied in microtitre wells containing a human fibroblast feeder layer, while only a small proportion established growing colonies in soft agarose, that could be picked up and subcultured.

Keyword(s): EBNA , EBV and lymphocytes

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