The mouse lymphoma assay

Methods Mol Biol. 2012;817:35-54. doi: 10.1007/978-1-61779-421-6_3.


The mouse lymphoma TK assay (MLA) is part of an in vitro battery of tests designed to predict risk assessment prior to in vivo testing. The test has the potential to detect mutagenic and clastogenic events at the thymidine kinase (tk) locus of L5178Y mouse lymphoma tk ( +/- ) cells by measuring resistance to the lethal nucleoside analogue triflurothymidine (TFT). Cells may be plated for viability and mutation in semi-solid agar (agar assay) or in 96-well microtitre plates (microwell assay). When added to selective medium containing TFT, wild-type tk ( +/- ) cells die, but TFT cannot be incorporated into the DNA of mutant tk ( -/- ) cells, which survive to form colonies that may be large (indicative of gene mutation) or small (indicative of chromosomal mutation) in nature. Mutant frequency is expressed as the number of mutants per 10(6) viable cells.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Genetic Loci
  • Leukemia L5178 / genetics
  • Lymphoma / genetics*
  • Mice
  • Mutagenicity Tests / methods*
  • Mutagens / toxicity
  • Mutation / drug effects
  • Thymidine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Thymidine Kinase / genetics*


  • Mutagens
  • Thymidine Kinase
  • Thymidine