The human T-cell leukaemia/lymphoma virus (HTLV) is an exogenous retrovirus which has been associated with adult T-cell leukaemia/lymphoma (ATL). This malignancy of T-lymphocytes is endemic to southern Japan, the West Indies, and to a lesser extent, the Middle East, Central Africa and the southeastern United States. ATL cells from patients of diverse geographical origins have been found to be infected with HTLV-1 (ref. 6). HTLV is normally tropic from mature t-lymphocytes, especially those expressing the helper-inducer surface antigen phenotype (KT4 or Leu-3-positive), and the neoplastic T cells infected with HTLV generally express receptors for T-cell growth factor (detected by reactivity with anti-Tc antibody). However, we report here the isolation of a HTLV-infected B-lymphocyte clone from the peripheral blood of a patient with ATL. This clone is cytogenetically normal and is not infected with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). Co-culture of cells from this clone with cord blood lymphocytes resulted in transmission of HTLV and the immoralization of either T or B-lymphocytes. These results suggest that HTLV may be associated with a broader range of host cells than previously recognized.
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