Fusion of mouse L929 cytoplasts with human peripheral blood lymphocytes induced lymphocyte proliferation that gave rise to lymphoid cell lines of B and T cell origin with unlimited growth potential. The immortalized cell lines were routinely grown in standard medium supplemented with fetal calf serum. Furthermore these cell lines could be propagated in chemically defined serum-free media. Each establishment of lymphoid cell lines was preceded by a proliferation phase 2 wk after cytoplast/cell fusion, which appears to be a necessary step in the immortalization process. The immortalized cells have a nearly normal human karyotype, do not form colonies in soft agar medium, and are not tumorigenic in nude mice. Cloned B cell lines produced human immunoglobulins of heavy and light chain types. No cross-reaction with DNA of herpes simplex virus, human cytomegalovirus, human T cell leukemia/lymphoma virus I and II, or polyoma virus was detected in the genome of immortalized cell lines by Southern blot hybridization. Furthermore B and T cell lines were established that appear to be free of Epstein-Barr virus genome.

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