Rapid syncytium formation induced by Moloney murine sarcoma virus in 3T3/NIH cells and its delay by mouse interferon Academic Article uri icon


  • Moloney murine sarcoma virus (MSV) clone 124 was found to induce rapid syncytium formation upon infection of 3T3/NIH at a high multiplicity of infection. This effect became apparent, by light microscopy, within 1 to 2 hours, whereas by scanning electron microscopy, clusters of 4 to 25 cells were seen in their initial steps of syncytium formation within 20 to 30 minutes after virus addition. It appeared that the cell fusion was initiated by connection between the cells through virus bound to their surface. After a few more hours several neighbouring syncytia fused into giant cells containing over a hundred nuclei. Though MSV (124) stocks contained also some MLV it appeared that the syncytium inducing activity was related to the MSV particles. MLV particles were not only incapable to induce syncytium formation, they even interfered with this activity of MSV. The MSV-induced cell fusion required the adsorption of intact virions, but was independent on protein synthesis. Mouse interferon remarkably reduced the rate of syncytium development.

publication date

  • January 1, 1981