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Temperature-sensitive expression of differentiation in transformed myoblasts

Abstract

NUMEROUS studies have dealt with the replication of tumour viruses in fibroblasts, but little is known about the mechanisms by which such viruses interfere with the control of specific functions in fibroblasts or in differentiating cells. It is known that tumour viruses can transform cells from differentiated tissues1–7. Chick embryo myoblasts can be transformed by Rous sarcoma virus (RSV), (refs 2 and 3); transformation, or at least infection, prevents neither formation of myotubes nor the biochemical changes which ordinarily follow myoblast fusion8; Easton and Reich did not, however, purify infected cells by serial passage. We report the in vitro transformation of chick embryo myogenic cells with a temperature-sensitive mutant of RSV. We show that transformed myoblasts, after serial passage, lose their ability to differentiate at the permissive temperature (36 °C) but will differentiate to form myotubes—if transformation is blocked by a shift to the non-permissive temperature (41 °C).

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