Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

  • Letter
  • Published:

Experimental evidence that polyoma-specific tumour antigen is a virus-coded protein


POLYOMA virus (PV) induces intranuclear tumour (T) antigen formation in permissive and semipermissive cells. In virus-infected cells, T antigen appears before the onset of viral DNA synthesis and is continuously demonstrable in PV-transformed cells1. The biological function of the T antigen is still uncertain, but the temporal relationship between early virus-specific messenger RNA (mRNA) synthesis, T antigen formation and stimulation of host cell DNA synthesis led to the hypothesis that T antigen acts as an activator for DNA synthesis2,3. Furthermore there exists only indirect evidence that T antigen is a virus-coded protein1. We have tested this by a more direct experimental approach. For this reason PV DNA was transcribed in vitro, and the complementary RNA (cRNA) obtained was further purified and injected into mouse tissue culture cells by our microinjection technique4,5. PV-specific T and V antigen formation was investigated.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Buy this article

Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

Similar content being viewed by others


  1. Tooze, J. (ed.), The Molecular Biology of Tumour Viruses, 305–402 (Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, 1973).

  2. Weil, R., and Kára, J., Proc. natn. Acad. Sci. U.S.A., 67, 1011–1017 (1970).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. Weil, R., Salomon, C., May, E., and May, P., Cold Spring Harb. Symp. quant. Biol., 39, 381–395 (1974).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Graessmann, A., and Graessmann, M., Hoppe-Seyler's Z. Physiol. Chem., 352, 527–532 (1971).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. Graessmann, M., Graessmann, A., Hoffmann, E., Niebel, J., and Pilaski, K., Molec. Biol. Repts, 1, 233–241 (1973).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. Erikson, R. L., Fundamental Techniques in Virology (edit. by Habel, K., and Salzmann, N. P.), 460–463 (Academic, New York and London, 1969).

    Google Scholar 

  7. Hirt, B., J. molec. Biol., 26, 365–369 (1967).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. Mandel, J. L., Kedinger, C., Gissinger, F., Chambon, P., and Fried, A. H., FEBS Lett., 29, 109–112 (1973).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. Kamen, R., Lindstrom, D. M., Shure, H., and Old, R. W., Cold Spring Harb. Symp. quant. Biol., 39, 187–198 (1974).

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

GRAESSMANN, M., GRAESSMANN, A., NIEBEL, J. et al. Experimental evidence that polyoma-specific tumour antigen is a virus-coded protein. Nature 258, 756–758 (1975).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

This article is cited by


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing