J Virol 1978 Mar;25(3):860-70
The function of the A gene of simian virus 40 (SV40) in transformation of BALB/c-3T3 cells was investigated by infecting at the permissive temperature with wild-type SV40 and with six tsA mutants whose mutation sites map at different positions in the early region of the SV40 genome. Cloned transformants were then characterized as to the temperature sensitivity of the transformed phenotype. Of 16 tsA transformants, 15 were temperature sensitive for the ability to overgrow a monolayer of normal cells, whereas three of three wild-type transformants were not. This pattern of temperature sensitivity of the transformed phenotype was also observed when selected clones were assessed for the ability to grow in soft agar and in medium containing low concentration of serum. The temperature resistance of the one exceptional tsA transformant could be attributed neither to the location of the mutation site in the transforming virus nor to transformation by a revertant virus. This temperature-resistant tsA transformant, however, was demonstrated to contain a higher intracellular concentration of SV40 T antigen than a temperature-sensitive line transformed by the same tsA mutant. A tsA transformant displaying the untransformed phenotype at the nonpermissive temperature was found to be susceptible to retransformation by wild-type virus at this temperature, demonstrating that the temperature sensitivity of the tsA transformants is due to the viral mutation and not to a cellular defect. These results indicate that continuous expression of the product of the SV40 A gene is required to maintain the transformed phenotype in BALB/c-3T3 cells.