Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-transformed tamarin (Saguinus oedipus) cells (B95-8) were selected for growth in medium with reduced serum and then transferred to serum-free medium which consisted of RPMI 1640 supplemented with insulin, transferrin, and selenium. Serum-free cells in continuous passage for 1 year had a morphology, growth rate, and culture density which approached those of B95-8 cells grown with serum. The cells expressed virus-induced antigens, including the EBV-associated DNA polymerase. Cells exposed to EBV-inducing agents, n-butyric acid and phorbol 12-myristate-13-acetate, produced transforming virus with titers comparable to those of cultures grown with serum. These findings demonstrate that serum is neither required for the growth of B95-8 cells nor necessary for induction or full expression of the EBV lytic phase in these cells
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