Mutant forms of herpesvirus saimiri (HVS) subgroup C strain 488 with deletions in either STP-C488 or Tip were constructed. The transforming potentials of the HVS mutants were tested in cell culture and in common marmosets. Parental HVS subgroup C strain 488 immortalized common marmoset T lymphocytes in vitro to interleukin-2-independent growth, but neither of the deletion mutants produced such growth transformation. Wild-type HVS produced fatal lymphoma within 19 to 20 days of experimental infection of common marmosets, while HVS ΔSTP-C488 and HVS ΔTip were nononcogenic. Virus was repeatedly isolated from the peripheral blood of marmosets infected with mutant virus for more than 5 months. These results demonstrate that STP-C488 and Tip are not required for replication or persistence, but each is essential for transformation in cell culture and for lymphoma induction in common marmosets
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