The QT35 cell line was established in 1977 from methylcholanthrene-induced tumors in Japanese quail. It was later shown that at least some of the QT35 cell lines were latently infected with Marek's disease (MD) virus (MDV). An MDV-like herpesvirus, named quail MDV (QMDV), was isolated from QT35 cells in 2000 by Yamaguchi et al. To determine the pathogenicity of QMDV, we inoculated 10-day-old specific-pathogen-free chickens with QMDV JM (virulent), RB-1B (very virulent), or 584A (very virulent plus). In addition, we inoculated 5-day-old Japanese quail with QMDV, JM, or RB-1B. QMDV is pathogenic in chickens with a tumor incidence comparable to JM. QMDV also caused MD in three out of 18 infected Japanese quail. In conclusion, QMDV is a virulent MDV, and its presence in QT35 cells has implications for the use of QT35 cells for vaccine production.

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