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Human keratinocytes and fibroblasts isolated from foreskin were transformed by transfection with recombinant human papillomavirus type 16 (HPV16) DNA. The transformed cells exhibited an extended (fibroblasts) or indefinite (keratinocytes) life-span compared with that of normal controls. In addition, HS27, a human fibroblast cell line previously transfected with origin-defective simian virus 40, was successfully transfected. HPV16 sequences were stably maintained in the cells, and extensive amplification and rearrangements occurred with continuous culturing. Moreover, both fibroblasts and keratinocytes expressed several specific HPV16 mRNAs. Because HPV16-transfected cells had viral transcripts and because transfection with the vector alone did not extend the life-span of the cells, it is likely that the virus was responsible for the indefinite life-span. Transfected fibroblast and keratinocyte lines will be useful for investigating the molecular biology of HPV16 and the interactions between the viral DNA and the human genome. Moreover, transfected keratinocytes provide a model for analyzing the effects of HPV16 on the differentiation properties of human epithelial cells.