Generation of macrophage cell line from fresh bone marrow cells with a myc/raf recombinant retrovirus.

E. Blasi, D. Radzioch, L. Merletti, L. Varesio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We have studied the effects of infection of fresh murine bone marrow (BM) cells by recombinant retroviruses carrying v-raf and v-myc oncogenes, either alone or in combination. Viruses containing v-raf or v-myc alone failed to induce BM proliferation in 24 out of 27 experiments performed so far, only the J2 virus containing both v-raf and v-myc oncogenes induced BM proliferation. Exogenous growth factors (GF) were not required to sustain the mitogenic effect of J2 virus. Infection with retroviruses carrying only v-raf or v-myc did not induce BM cell growth, indicating that co-expression of the two oncogenes was needed to provide the mitogenic signal(s) for BM proliferation. The kinetics of growth of the J2 virus-infected cells (J2 cells) were characteristically biphasic. The initial burst of proliferation was always followed by a quiescent phase culminating in cell death, which could not be reversed by addition of exogenous GF. In contrast, active proliferation of the quiescent monolayers could be restored by addition of dextran-based beads to the cultures, showing that the growth arrest of J2 cells was a reversible process. J2 cells actively growing in the presence of CT-beads could be expanded and cloned and subsequently grew continuously independent of the CT-beads. Eighteen clones obtained from different infections were all macrophages (M phi) by morphological criteria and all of them expressed the same membrane phenotype compatible with M phi, demonstrating that J2 virus infection leads to immortalization of the same BM-derived monocytic subpopulation. When injected in vivo, J2 cells produced histiocytic tumors in nude mice, but did not grow in immunocompetent syngeneic mice. The cells induced to proliferate in vitro in response to J2 virus infection appeared to be limited to the BM compartment, since spleen cells, thymocytes, peritoneal M phi and liver large granular lymphocytes did not grow in vitro in response to J2 virus. The immortalization of BM cells by J2 virus infection represents a novel reproducible experimental system to deliberately generate M phi lines, which proliferate in response to viral oncogenes and do not require exogenous GF to initiate or to sustain their continuous proliferation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)303-317
Number of pages15
JournalCancer Biochemistry Biophysics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics


Dive into the research topics of 'Generation of macrophage cell line from fresh bone marrow cells with a myc/raf recombinant retrovirus.'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this