Cells of a polyoma virus transformed clonal line (Cl-I) of baby hamster kidney fibroblasts (BHK-21) were grown in medium containing 2 percent dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO). Unlike the untransformed BHK-21 cells, Cl-I cells adapted to replication in the presence of DMSO, and they exhibited a rapidly reversible phenotypic reversion of a number of properties characteristic of the transformed state. Restoration of density dependent growth inhibition with accumulation of cells in the G1 phase of the cell cycle occurred and was associated with restoration of contact dependent behavior and with reversion of histological and ultrastructural features towards those which characterize untransformed cells. Concomitantly, Cl-I cells grown in 2 percent DMSO lost the ability to form colonies in semisolid medium. The data presented suggest that DMSO alters the expression of cellular functions which were altered as a result of viral transformation and which may be involved in cell tumorigenicity.

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