Tunicamycin treatment of CHO cells abrogates multiple blocks to retrovirus infection, one of which is due to a secreted inhibitor.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Journal of virology, Volume 66, Issue 1, p.78-84 (1992)


1992, 3T3 Cells, Animals, CHO Cells, Cricetinae, Defective Viruses, Hela Cells, Humans, Interferons, MICE, PROTEINS, Receptors, Virus, Retroviridae, Transfection, Tunicamycin, Virus Replication


Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells are resistant to infection by all of the major classes of murine retroviruses and are partially resistant to infection by gibbon ape leukemia virus. Treatment of CHO cells with the glycosylation inhibitor tunicamycin rendered these cells susceptible to infection by retroviral vectors with ecotropic, xenotropic, and amphotropic host ranges and increased the titer of gibbon ape leukemia virus pseudotyped vectors 10-fold. Vectors having a polytropic host range did not infect CHO cells in the presence or absence of tunicamycin, showing that the effect of tunicamycin was specific and related to the pseudotype of the vector. We present evidence for three mechanisms of resistance to infection: lack of viral receptors on CHO cells, the presence of nonfunctional receptors which can be made functional by treatment with tunicamycin, and the secretion of a protein factor that blocks retroviral infection of CHO cells. Several criteria indicate that the secreted inhibitor is not an interferon, and secretion of this factor was not detected in several other cell lines that were examined.