The requirement for DNA synthesis during the primary differentiation of cytolytic T lymphocytes (CTL) had been investigated. CTL were induced polyclonally in vitro by stimulation of normal C57BL/6 spleen cells with concanavalin A (Con A)and their cytolytic activity was tested against 51Cr-labeled target cells in the presence of Bacto Phytohemagglutinin M. With this system, CTL activity could first be detected 48 h after exposure of spleen cells to Con A. Addition of cytosine arabinoside at concentrations sufficient to reduce DNA synthesis by 95-98% in Con A-stimulated cultures did not significantly inhibit the generation of cytolytic activity on a cell-to-cell basis. These results demonstrate that derepression of the genetic information required for the expression of CTL function can occur in the absence of detectable DNA synthesis.

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