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Fibropapillomatosis (FP) is a tumor disease of marine turtles associated with Chelonid herpesvirus 5 (ChHV5) that has historically been refractory to growth in tissue culture. Here, we show for the first time de novo formation of ChHV5-positive intranuclear inclusions in cultured green turtle cells, which is indicative for active lytic replication of the virus. The minimal requirements to achieve lytic replication in cultured cells included 1) either in-vitro culturing of ChHV5-positive tumor biopsies or organotypic cultures consisting of ChHV5-positive turtle fibroblasts in collagen rafts seeded with ChHV5-negative or -positive turtle keratinocytes and 2) keratinocyte maturation, which occurred naturally in explanted...


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