Transformation of rat embryo fibroblasts by cloned polyoma virus DNA fragments containing only part of the early region.
Recombinant plasmids containing either the entire polyoma viral genome or one or the other of the two HindIII fragments of polyoma virus DNA were constructed and cloned in Escherichia coli X1776, and their DNAs were individually tested for the capacity to transform an established line of rat cells. The recombinant plasmids containing the entire polyoma genome and those containing the HindIII-1 fragment of polyoma DNA (45-1.4 map units) efficiently transform rat cells, whereas the plasmids containing the HindIII-2 fragment (1.4-45.0 map units) do not. The properties of many independent transformed cell lines established by infection with the cloned HindIII-1 fragment were determined. In contrast to the parent cell line, rat cells transformed with the cloned HindIII-1 fragment grow to high saturation densities, form colonies with high efficiency in dilute agar suspension, produce high levels of plasminogen activator, and display a disorganized arrangement of actin cables. By all criteria examined, these cells transformed by fragments are indistinguishable from cells transformed by whole polyoma viral DNA. Cellular DNA prepared from many HindIII-1 fragment-transformed cell lines was analyzed for the presence and arrangement of polyoma viral sequences by Southern blot-hybridization. In all cases examined, only those viral sequences contained within the HindIII-1 fragment of polyoma DNA were detected. These data establish a strong correlation between polyoma DNA sequences mapping within a restricted portion of the early region and the induction and maintenance of the transformed phenotype.