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4 Structure and Composition of Polyoma Virus, SV40 and the Papilloma Viruses


Polyoma virus, SV40 and the papilloma viruses are oncogenic members of the papova group of viruses (papilloma, polyoma and vacuolating viruses, Melnick, 1962). Polyoma virus was first detected as a contaminant in cell-free extracts of Ak mice being used for the transmission of murine leukemia (Gross, 1953a, b). It was first propagated in vitro by Stewart and Eddy and their coworkers, who used mouse embryo cultures (Stewart et al., 1958; and review by Stewart, 1960). The virus was named polyoma (Stewart and Eddy, 1959) because of its ability to induce a wide range of tumours when injected into animals of several species. The cytopathic effects of polyoma virus concomitant with productive infections were described by Eddy and Stewart (1959) and Eddy et al. (1960) and the transformation of mouse and hamster cells in culture was observed in several laboratories at the same period (see review by Gross, 1970).

Simian virus 40 was discovered by Sweet and Hilleman (1960) in cultures of monkey kidney cells of the type being used to produce and to test poliomyelitis vaccines. They initially called this latent simian virus vacuolating virus, because the development of prominent cytoplasmic vesicles characterizes its cytopathic effect during productive infections, but subsequently the nomenclature of Hull et al. (1956) was adopted and vacuolating virus has since been called Simian virus 40 (SV40). It was first shown to be oncogenic in newborn hamsters by Eddy et al. (1961 Eddy et al. (1962), and the transformation by SV40 of cells in tissue culture was first reported...

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