Transformation of rodent cells with isolated restriction endonuclease fragments of herpes simplex virus type 2 DNA identified a region of the genome located between map positions 0.58 and 0.62. These sequences were cloned into pBR322, and the recombinant plasmid was used to transform primary rat embryo cells and NIH 3T3 cells. The transformants were selected for their ability to form dense foci on a monolayer or to form colonies in semisolid medium. In contrast to the parental rat or mouse cells, cell lines transformed with the cloned herpes simplex virus type 2 fragment grow to high saturation densities, replicate in medium containing 1% serum, form colonies in dilute methylcellulose, show reduced levels of fibronectin, and are tumorigenic in nude mice and in their syngeneic hosts. Southern blot hybridizations have detected sequences homologous to the viral fragment in high-molecular-weight DNA from the transformed cell lines that are not present in DNA from normal rodents. In all cases, the plasmid DNA was present in less than one copy per cell, and the patterns of viral sequences changed with passage of the cell line in vivo
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