The results of virological investigations of alphavirus persistence in human B-cell lines Raji and L-101 are presented. The formation of persisting infection was shown to depend both on the cell line and on the virus type. Productive persistent infection of Raji cells with Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus was followed for 11 months. The presence of the virus was confirmed by electron microscopic and immunofluorescent examinations. Infectious virus production varied from 0.001 to dozens PFU/cell, and the content of viable cells from 100,000 to 300,000 in 1 ml of the culture fluid. Virus infectivity in the culture medium varied within the range of 5-7 lg PFU/ml. Human lymphoblastoid cells Raji persistently infected with Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus were examined cytologically, karyologically, and electron microscopically. The long-term presence of the virus resulted in profound alterations in the cell population. Morphology of the cells and processes of division were changed, the mitotic index decreased, the rate of 3H-thymidine incorporation into cellular DNA increased. The mechanisms of persistence are discussed.
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