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8 The Adenoviruses


The adenoviruses, which were discovered in 1953 (Rowe et al., 1953; Hilleman and Werner, 1954), seem largely to cause respiratory diseases in their natural hosts, but many have oncogenic potential for rodents. This was discovered by Trentin et al. (1962), who found that human adenovirus 12 induces tumours in newborn hamsters. Since then human adenovirus 12 has been shown to cause tumours in newborn rats (Huebner et al., 1963), the African rodent Mastomys natalensis (Rabson et al., 1964) and some strains of mice (Rabson et al., 1964; Yabe et al., 1964). At the same time the list of adenoviruses with oncogenic potential has grown rapidly; in addition to those human adenoviruses that possess oncogenic potential, some adenoviruses of simian (Hull et al., 1965), bovine (Darbyshire, 1966) and avian (Sarma et al., 1965) origin have been shown to induce tumours in newborn rodents.

In vitro transformation by adenoviruses was first demonstrated by McBride and Wiener (1964), who infected cultures of newborn hamster kidney cells with human adenovirus 12 and detected transformed cells about 8 to 10 weeks later. Subsequently Freeman et al. (1967) reported that the transformation by human adenovirus 12 of rat embryo fibroblasts, grown in a medium containing only low concentrations of Ca++, is more rapid and reproducible.

The adenoviruses, described formally as non-enveloped, icosahedral viruses containing linear double-stranded DNA (Pereira et al., 1963), are much larger and more complex than the papova viruses. Each particle weighs about 175 × 106 daltons and contains 12–14 percent (20–25...

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