Tumorigenic and nontumorigenic mutants induced by a single 5'-bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) treatment of a nonproducer (NP) tumorigenic cell line were isolated and characterized. Among the cloned derivatives were examples of virus-free and sarcoma virus-producing cell lines. Oncogenicity did not correlate with production of virus or ease of rescue of the sarcoma genome. All lines, including nononcogenic derivatives, retained the sarcoma genome.
Phenotypic reversion of some cell mutants was observed after in vivo inoculation or long term in vitro cultivation. The M-50T cell line, obtained from a tumor induced by M-50 cells, had a sarcoma genome rescuable by direct superinfection; this was only achieved with parental M-50 cells by a cell fusion rescue technique. The M-43-2T cell, obtained from a single small static tumor induced by otherwise nononcogenic M-43-2 cells, shed sarcoma virus and became tumorigenic. M-58-4-48 became tumorigenic after passage 48 of the M-58-4 line, which was originally nontumorigenic. These observations of phenotypic reversion demonstrate that the presence of the sarcoma gene in cells is an essential but not sufficient condition of tumorigenesis.