Mouse fibroblasts (L cells) fail to support the growth of psittacosis virus (6BC strain) if they are maintained on a medium containing only inorganic salts and glucose for 2 days prior to infection. Virus propagation can be stimulated by the addition of a synthetic medium containing amino acids, water-soluble vitamins, glutamine, glucose, and inorganic salts. By omitting single amino acids from the complete synthetic medium, tyrosine, threonine, methionine, isoleucine, phenylalanine, tryptophan, leucine, valine, and cysteine or cystine were found to be essential for stimulation, while lysine, arginine, histidine, hydroxyproline, proline, glutamic acid, aspartic acid, serine, alanine, and glycine were not essential. The cells on deficient media showed varying degrees of degenerative changes, but there was little correlation between ability to support psittacosis virus growth and morphologic condition of the cells.
Glucose is also an essential component of the medium for viral growth, but the absence of glutamine had no effect on stimulation of virus propagation. L cell cultures maintained on media deficient in phenylalanine or tryptophan for 2 days before infection were also found to be incapable of supporting virus growth. The implications of this study in latent viral infections are discussed.