The susceptibility of targets to destruction by tumoricidal rat and mouse macrophages was studied with virus-transformed cell lines in which various elements of the transformed phenotype are only expressed at specific temperatures. BHK cells transformed by the ts3 mutant of polyoma virus, rat embryo 3Y1 cells transformed by a temperature-sensitive A cistron mutant of simian virus 40 (SV40) and the ts-H6-15 temperature-sensitive line of SV40-transformed mouse 3T3 cells were killed in vitro by macrophages at both the permissive (33 °C) or nonpermissive (39 °C) temperatures for expression of the transformed phenotype. 3T3, 3Y1 and BHK cells transformed by wild-type SV40 or polyoma virus were also destroyed by tumoricidal macrophages at both 33 and 39 °C, but untransformed 3T3, 3Y1, and BHK cells were not. Thus, transformed cells are killed by macrophages regardless of whether or not they express cell surface LETS protein or Forssman antigen, display surface changes which permit agglutination by low doses of plant lectins, express SV40 T antigen, have a low saturation density, or exhibit density-dependent inhibition of DNA synthesis.
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