Friend leukemia virus (FLV) erythroleukemic cells cultured in medium containing FLV-immune serum from dormant FLV-infected mice undergo modulation of FLV cell surface antigens. Modulation was determined by an increased resistance to FLV antibody-mediated complement-dependent lysis and was associated temporally with the capping of FLV-immune complexes at the cell surface. Modulated cells regained their susceptibility to FLV antibody-mediated complement-dependent lysis when transferred to medium containing normal mouse serum. After 48 h of culture in FLV-immune serum, 26% of the FLV erythroleukemic cells were devoid of FLV cell surface antigens as demonstrated by immunofluoresence. Antigenic modulation occurred to a greater extent in cells maintained in logarithmic growth than in cells in GO or resting phase. FLV-antigenic modulation is discussed as a possible mechanism by which antibody induces and maintains FLV-transformed cells in a dormant state.

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