Mouse cell lines of different lineages have been established which constitutively secrete large quantities of recombinant mouse interleukins (mIL2, mIL3, mIL4 or mIL5). An existing bovine papilloma virus-based expression vector, pBV-lMTHA, was modified to allow transformed X63Ag8-653 myeloma cells, NIH 3T3 fibroblasts and C127 mammary tumor cells to stably carry multiple copies of the vector, to express the inserted cDNA encoding a single interleukin constitutively, and to secrete the interleukin in high quantities.
Cell lines transformed with mIL2 cDNA stably carried 30–100 copies of the plasmid per cell and constitutively secreted biologically active mIL2 in quantities similar to those produced by murine EL4 thymoma cells or rat spleen cells stimulated with mitogens. Deletion of the 3′ untranslated region containing AT-rich sequences from the mIL2 cDNA resulted in a 100-fold increase in the constitutive production and secretion of mIL2 by the transformants. Addition of a heavy metal further increased the production 2 to 6-fold. Cells transformed with 3′-deleted mIL3 cDNA constitutively secreted 300–1000 times higher activities of mIL3 than the myelomonocytic leukemia line WEHI 3. mIL 4 produced by the similar transformants induced [3H]thymidine uptake of a T cell line, a mast cell line and B leukemia cells, and enhanced the production of IgG1 by B cells. IL 4 liters were 150 times higher than those produced by the concanavalin A-stimulated T cell line 2.19. mIL 5 was secreted by similar transformants at 10-fold higher titers than those produced by concanavalin A-stimulated 2.19 T cells, as judged by the proliferation and maturation of B cell leukemia BCL1. The expression vectors should be useful in establishing eukaryotic cell lines producing proteins from full length cDNA clones at higher rates. The established cell lines secreting IL2, 3, 4 or 5 at high rate should be useful sources for these interleukins in the investigation of their function in the immune system.