Establishment of retrovirus-, Epstein-Barr virus-positive B-lymphoblastoid cell lines derived from individuals at risk for acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS)

AIDS Res. 1983-1984;1(4):253-70. doi: 10.1089/aid.1.1983.1.253.


Peripheral blood lymphocytes from male individuals at risk for AIDS were cultured in the presence of interleukin-2. Approximately 90% of cultures originating from pre-AIDS and AIDS patients were retrovirus-positive as detected by the reverse transcriptase (RT) assay and confirmed by electron microscopy. Prolonged incubation of the retrovirus-positive cells resulted in the establishment of several interleukin-2-independent B-lymphoblastoid cell lines. These cells were positive for Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-specific antigens and contained EBV particles. When irradiated cells from the new lines were cocultivated with an RT-negative T-cell line CEM, an efficient transmission of retrovirus was detected. The supernatants from cocultivated cells had 5-10 fold higher levels of RT activity as compared with the supernatant from the cell line alone. Type-C retroviral particles and budding structures similar to those of human T cell leukemia virus type III (HTLV-III) and lymphadenopathy-associated virus (LAV) were found by electron microscopy. HTLV-III/LAV-specific polypeptides were detected by immunoprecipitation with sera from lymphadenopathy and AIDS patients, but not with sera from healthy individuals. Our data suggest that EBV-infected B lymphocytes from individuals at risk for AIDS may serve as a biological reservoir for the AIDS-associated retrovirus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / etiology
  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / microbiology*
  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / pathology
  • Antigens, Viral / analysis
  • B-Lymphocytes / microbiology*
  • B-Lymphocytes / ultrastructure
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Transformation, Viral
  • Deltaretrovirus / enzymology
  • Deltaretrovirus / isolation & purification*
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human / immunology
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human / isolation & purification*
  • Humans
  • Lymphatic Diseases / microbiology*
  • Lymphatic Diseases / pathology
  • Male
  • Models, Biological
  • RNA-Directed DNA Polymerase / analysis
  • Risk
  • Viral Proteins / analysis


  • Antigens, Viral
  • Viral Proteins
  • RNA-Directed DNA Polymerase