Malignant S49 mouse lymphoma cells that grow in suspension culture demonstrate in their cytoplasm characteristic tubular structures. These structures also appear in immunogenic, substrate-adherent variants of S49 cells that grow in culture. Upon transfer of both cell types into nude mice, the tubular structures of the adherent variants (and not the suspension-growing cells) undergo a profound alteration whereby their tubular components disappear and clusters of viruslike particles appear. These very closely resemble, on morphological grounds, precursors of B-type retroviruses. This specific in vivo interaction between the host and the S49 variant can be mimicked in culture by treatment of these cells for 24 h with 500 U/ml of mouse interferon. The suspension-growing S49 cells are unresponsive to interferon in this respect. Immunohistochemical analysis reveals that both tubular structures and the viruslike particles represent stages in the morphogenesis of mouse mammary tumor virus. A working hypothesis is advanced relating the regulation of the tubular system to the impaired tumorigenic potential of adherent S49 cells in syngeneic Balb/c hosts.
Mouse lymphoma cells (S49) that grow in suspension culture were selected for increased tumorigenicity through continuous passages in syngeneic BALB/c mice. Developing tumors were classified as high grade malignant lymphoma, small noncleaved type. Variants were selected from these tumorigenic cells that were able to grow as a monolayer attached to their substrate, resembling, in this respect, fibroblastoid cells. Whereas the tumorigenic suspension-growing parental cells were able to induce progressive tumors with an inoculum as low as 100 cells per mouse, the adherent cells were unable to develop as tumors even at an inoculum of 1 X 10(8) cells per mouse. In addition, mice inoculated once with live adherent cells were immunized against 1 X 10(7) suspension-growing cells. Involvement of an immune response in the rejection of tumorigenic S49 cells was suggested by (a) adoptive transfer experiments in which spleen cells from immunized mice protected naive mice and (b) the appearance of antibodies in the sera of immunized syngeneic mice that specifically recognized both adherent and suspension-growing S49 cells and detected differences in [35S]methionine-labeled antigens from these cells. Antibodies raised in rabbits against adherent cells recognized three proteins of 34,000, 61,000, and 72,000 apparent molecular weight in radiolabeled adherent cell extracts that are either absent or present in small amounts in extracts of suspension-growing tumorigenic S49 cells. These findings, taken together with our previous report (Hochman, J., A. Katz, E. Levy, and S. Eshel, 1981, Nature (Lond.), 290:248-249), suggest the S49 system as a novel system for studying growth control in malignant lymphoid cells.