Thymidine kinase-deficient syrian hamster cells were cotransfected with recombinant plasmids containing the thymidine kinase (TK) gene of Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1, and either intact or partially deleted SV40 T antigen-coding genes. The transformants were selected by their ability to grow in gHAT medium. After selection and cloning, the TK-positive transformants that also expressed T antigen were tested for the extent of their transformation with respect to a number of characteristics, which included saturation density, ability to grow in soft agar, resistance to butyrate and to dibutyryl-cAMP, and plating efficiency. The combined results of these various tests indicate that cells containing partially deleted SV40 T antigen-coding genes are less transformed than cells containing an intact SV40 T antigen-coding gene. However, the amounts of T antigen are lower in cells transformed by deletion mutants than in cells transformed by wild-type T antigen-coding gene. Our data indicate that both the quantity and the quality of T antigen may be important in determining the degree of transformation in Syrian hamster cells.
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