Rabbit cell lines have been obtained by viral transformation of lymphoid cells, placing primary tumors in culture, and by generation of fibroblast lines from skin punches. A number of these cell lines have been characterized for specific functional activities and for expression of genes relevant to the immune system. In an attempt to derive T-cell lines rabbits were injected with human cells producing HTLV-I and the majority of these (4 of 5) seroconverted. Cell lines derived from rabbits treated in this fashion from other workers were characterized and it was possible to assign certain T-cell characteristics to these lines. Recent experiments have emphasized attempts to infect rabbit cell lines with the human AIDS virus. One cell line, RL-5, which has been extensively studied in this laboratory and that was derived by transformation with Herpes ateles and another cell line transformed with HTLV-I were shown to infect with HIV. This was shown by quantitative reverse transcriptase analysis, by Western blot analysis and by the ability of supernatants from the infected lines to reinfect susceptible human cell lines. More complete characterization of infected cell lines will include Southern blot analyses to determine how the HIV genome has integrated into rabbit cell lines and Northern blot analyses to indicate which viral transcripts are being made, whether these are of normal size, and whether any transcript(s) are preferentially expressed. Because of the susceptibility of the HTLV-I transformed cell line to infection by HIV, attempts will be made to infect seroconverted HTLV-I rabbits with rabbit and human cell lines that are infected with HIV.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
Intramural Research (Z01)
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