, Volume 21, Issue 4, pp 245-253

Mutagensis and cell transformation in cell culture

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The current lack of continuous prawn cell lines suitable for the isolation and growth of prawn viruses is a major setback for diagnosis of viral diseases of prawns; isolation and identification of the causative agents are severely hindered and the development of other diagnostic procedures is slowed. To date, there are few, if any, examples of continuous prawn cell lines suitable for virus isolation and growth. Recent studies indicate that clastogenic agents such as ionising radiation are more effective than powerful point mutagens as immortalising agents for mammalian cells. Such studies with mammalian cell cultures indicate that certain mutagenic agents and/or prolonged treatment with a combination of mutagens may prove more useful in the production of immortal prawn cell lines in vitro rather than other, more limited and specific procedures. This report provides a brief review of the use of mutagens to induce immortalisation -- the acquisition of unlimited growth potential -- in mammalian cells in culture, i.e. the production of continuous cell lines from primary cultures. Aspects of cell transformation vs. immortalisation, the control of cell growth in vitro, and the application of mutagenic agents to induce immortalisation in primary cultures of prawn tissues will be discussed.