Re: The HUT 78 cell line 19 July 2004
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Nicholas Bennett,
Infectious Disease Postdoc/Clinician
Department of Pediatrics, University Hospital, Syracuse NY

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Re: Re: The HUT 78 cell line

In their recent treatise on cell lines, the Perth Group state that "a cell infected with a retrovirus, in order to express retrovirus particles and antigens, must be activated/stimulated, that is the cell must be treated with oxidising agents". Aside from the entirely too wishy-washy use of the word "oxidising" (which brings to mind such things as neat bleach and free radical damage to DNA), from experience, stimulation of cells hardly requires such harsh methods.

In addition, it depends entirely on the cell line. The Jurkat T cell line will happily grow HIV-1 and HIV-2 with no further requirements other than standard RPMI-1690 media with 10% fetal calf serum. Long-term cultures are readily establihed and maintained (~200 days before, in my case, fungus from a maintenence worker killed them all off).

The Jurkat line isn't perfect, missing as it is the APOBEC inhibitor that Vif conteracts, but it doesn't seem to require additional "oxidative" stimulation in order to grow HIV. The Jurkats (standard workhorses in the HIV research world) are constitutively activated T cells, which is a physiological state of cell cycle replication and gene expression patterns, not (as the Perth Group seem to imply) an artificial state induced by the addition of weird chemicals. Some historical methods do use odd things (e.g. PMA to cause differentiation of THP-1 cells) but other use physiological hormones (e.g. IL-2 to activate come T cell lines, the chemical that makes you feel crappy with flu).

I note also that the "proof" of the statement given above is a Perth Group reference. Forgive my lack of faith, but I hardly think that is primary literature.

Competing interests: None declared