Adult T-cell leukemia: antigen in an ATL cell line and detection of antibodies to the antigen in human sera.
Indirect immunofluorescence of certain human sera demonstrated an antigen(s) in the cytoplasm of 1--5% of the cells of a T-cell line, MT-1, from a patient with adult T-cell leukemia (ATL), which is endemic in southwestern Japan. The antigen was not detected in other human lymphoid cell lines, including six T-cell lines, seven B-cell lines, and four non-T non-B cell lines. The antigen did not show cross antigenicity with that of herpesviruses, including Epstein--Barr virus, herpes simplex virus, cytomegalovirus, varicella-zoster virus, herpesvirus saimiri, and Marek disease virus. The proportion of antigen-bearing cells was increased by a factor of approximately 5 on culture in the presence of 5-iodo-2'-deoxyuridine. Antibodies against the antigen in MT-1 cells were found in all 44 patients with ATL examined and in 32 of 40 patients with malignant T-cell lymphomas (most of them had diseases similar to ATL except that leukemic cells were not found in the peripheral blood). The antibodies were also detected in 26% of the healthy adults examined from ATL-endemic areas but in only a few of those examined from ATL-non-endemic areas. On electron microscopy, extracellular type C virus particles were detected in pelleted MT-1 cells cultured in the presence of 5-iodo-2'-deoxyuridine.