Cultured Burkitt cells were examined by immunofluorescence, autoradiography, and electron microscopy in an effort to identify the stainable cells with those harboring herpes-type virus particles. Immediately after a 2-hr pulse of (3)H-thymidine, from 30 to 60% of the cells revealed heavy nuclear labeling. In most cases the grains were evenly dispersed, but in about 3 to 5% the grains showed a focal distribution and occasionally they extended into the cytoplasm. Such nuclear foci were rarely seen at 8 hr after the pulse. When the analysis was restricted to preselected immunofluorescent cells, up to 80% showed label at 8 hr and cytoplasmic grains were prominent. To reduce cellular deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) synthesis, cells were X-irradiated with 3,000 to 6,000 R, and the isotope pulse was applied 1, 4, or 7 days later. Whereas the total number of labeled cells decreased in roughly twofold steps at the respective intervals (from 40 to 10%), the incorporation of (3)H-thymidine into fluorescent cells was not affected by X irradiation. In each series, about 70% of the fluorescent cells contained label when they were examined at 24 and 48 hr after the pulse, whereas at 8 and 72 hr fewer were positive. At the earlier intervals, unlabeled fluorescent cells most likely represented cells which had completed viral DNA synthesis prior to the pulse; at the later intervals, unlabeled fluorescent cells were probably cells which commenced viral replication after the pulse. These data support the conclusion that the immunofluorescent cells are the ones which harbor virus, and also confirm the expectation that the virus is a DNA virus from a member of the herpes group. This conclusion was firmly established by sectioning and electron microscopic examination of individual fluorescent cells, all of which contained numerous virus particles, whereas the nonstained cells prepared in a similar manner were free of them.
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Journal article published