Anti‐complement immunofluorescence (ACIF) was used to study the complementfixing antigens of human lymphoblastoid cell lines. These cell lines carry the Epstein‐Barr virus (EBV) genome although only producer cultures synthetize EBV‐specific antigens (virus capsid antigen, VCA and early antigen, EA) detectable by direct and indirect immunofluorescence, usually in less than 5% of the cells. The ACIF test revealed an antigen localized in the nucleus of the lymphoblastoid cells. In contrast to EA and VCA, this antigen was present in over 90% of the cells of both producer and non‐producer cultures. The antigen was shown to be specific for EBV by comparing the reactions of 52 sera in the ACIF test. Sera giving the nuclear reaction contained antibodies to VCA, EA or antigens detectable by complement fixation tests on cell extracts, but sera without EBV antibodies failed to give the reaction. Weak, equivocal or discordant reactions occurred with six sera with low titres in VCA, EA or complement fixation tests. Cell lines derived by transformation of human and primate lymphocytes by EBV gave the nuclear reaction. Control cells with no known association with EBV were non‐reactive. These included foetal lymphocytes transformed by phytohaemagglutinin, cell lines derived from breast cancer, glioma, normal glia, pleuritis maligna and myeloma, and two marmoset lymphoid lines carrying Herpesvirus saimiri (HVS). In preliminary experiments, the ACIF test was used as a tool to trace the EBV genome at the cellular level. Cells from two Burkitt lymphoma biopsies, one tested after biopsy and one after passaging in nude mice, contained an EBV‐specific antigen. Three clones of cells derived from hybrids of mouse somatic cells and a human lymphoblastoid cell line also contained such an antigen, but the number of reactive cells varied from clone to clone. A fourth clone was non‐reactive.
International Journal of Cancer – Wiley
Published: May 15, 1973
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