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3T3 cells

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Title: 3T3 cells  
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Subject: Non-terminally differentiated (blast) cells, Cell lines, RET proto-oncogene, Bioimage informatics, Homeobox protein NANOG
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3T3 cells

NIH/3T3 Fibroblasts in cell culture

3T3 cells come from a fibroblast cell line. Todaro and Green originally obtained their 3T3 cells from Swiss albino mouse embryo tissue.


  • Nomenclature 1
  • Characteristics 2
    • Expression 2.1
    • Cytogenetics 2.2
  • Uses 3
  • References 4
  • Notes 5


The '3T3' designation refers to the abbreviation of "3-day transfer, inoculum 3 x 105 cells." This cell line was originally established from the primary mouse embryonic fibroblast cells that were cultured by the designated protocol, so-called '3T3 protocol'. The primary mouse embryonic fibroblast cells were transferred (the "T") every 3 days (the first "3"), and inoculated at the rigid density of 3 x 105 cells per 20-cm² dish (the second "3") continuously. The spontaneously immortalized cells with stable growth rate were established after 20-30 generations in culture, and then named '3T3' cells. Specifically, "3T3-L1" is one of the current line.


Swiss 3T3 can be inhibited by temazepam and other benzodiazepines. These cells are also contact inhibited. The cells are sensitive to sarcoma virus and leukemia virus focus formation. 3T3 cells can be transformed with SV40 and some other polyomaviruses.[1]


Lysophosphatidylcholine (lyso-PC) induces AP-1 activity and c-jun N-terminal kinase activity (JNK1) by a protein kinase C-independent pathway.[2]


3T3 mouse cells are hypertriploid. The modal chromosome number is 68, which occurs in 30% of cells. Higher ploidies occur at a much lower rate of 2.4%.[1]


3T3 cells are often used in the cultivation of keratinocytes, with the 3T3 cells secreting growth factors favourable to these kinds of cells.


  • Todaro GJ, Green H . Quantitative studies of the growth of mouse embryo cells in culture and their development into established lines. J. Cell Biol. 17: 299-313, 1963. Fulltext.
  • Nikon MicroscopyU Digital Video Gallery: 3T3 Cell Motility - a set of films of 3T3 cells in culture


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