Many tumour cells are killed by the lytic replication of the autonomous parvoviruses H-1 and minute virus of mice (MVMp), whereas most untransformed cells (although they take up these viruses efficiently) are resistant, i.e. they do not produce infectious virus and are not lysed. Therefore, cells able to continuously produce large quantities of infectious virus have not yet been described. We have isolated such cells from the resistant cell line FR3T3 (Fisher rat fibroblast). These cells (called FR3T3C) produce infectious MVMp virions without being detectably lysed. Furthermore, a persistently infected population (R100FR3T3C) was generated by repetitive infection of FR3T3C cells with MVMp. Indeed, R100FR3T3C cells were successfully cultivated for two years and continuously produced infectious virus. Seventeen clones of R100FR3T3C cells isolated by limiting dilution produced infectious virions, indicating that in the R100FR3T3C cell population, virus production was not limited to a few cells. These cell lines may be useful for the production of MVMp and for the generation of a cell line for the packaging of recombinant viral genomes.


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