Jurkat cells (pronounced yūr′kat) are an immortalized line of T lymphocyte cells that are used to study acute T cell leukemia, T cell signaling, and the expression of various chemokine receptors susceptible to viral entry, particularly HIV. Jurkat cells are also useful in science because of their ability to produce interleukin 2. Their primary use, however, is to determine the mechanism of differential susceptibility of cancers to drugs and radiation.
The Jurkat cell line (originally called JM) was established in the late 1970s from the peripheral blood of a 14 year old boy with T cell leukemia. Different derivatives of the Jurkat cell line can now be obtained from cell culture banks that have been mutated to lack certain genes.
Examples of derivatives 
- The JCaM1.6 cell line is deficient in Lck kinase activity due to the deletion of part of the lck gene (exon 7) from the Lck transcript.
- J.RT3-T3.5 cells have a mutation in the T cell receptor beta chain locus precluding expression of this chain. This affects the cells in several ways. They do not express surface CD3 or produce the T cell receptor alpha/beta heterodimer. Since they are deficient in the TCR complex, these cells are a useful tool for transfection studies using T cell receptor alpha and beta chain genes and are widely used in labs in which T cell receptor gene transfer technologies are studied.
- The I 9.2 and I 2.1 cell lines. The I 2.1 cell line is functionally defective for FADD and the I 9.2 cell line is functionally defective for caspase-8, both defective molecules being essential to apoptosis or necroptosis of cells.
- The D1.1 cell line does not express CD4 molecule, an important co-receptor in the activation pathway of helper T cells.
- The J.gamma1 subline contains no detectable phospholipase C-gamma1 (PLC-γ1) protein and therefore has profound defects in T cell receptor (TCR) calcium mobilization, and nuclear factor of activated T-cells (NFAT) activation (an important transcription factor in T cells).
Cell line contamination 
Jurkat J6 cells have been found to produce a xenotropic murine leukemia virus (X-MLV) that could potentially affect experimental outcomes and infect lab technicians. This infection may also change the virulence and tropism of the virus by way of phenotypic mixing and/or recombination.
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- American Type Culture Collection (ATCC)
- Takeuchi, Y; McClure, MO; Pizzato, M (Dec 2008). "Identification of Gammaretroviruses Constitutively Released from Cell Lines Used for Human Immunodeficiency Virus Research". Journal of Virology 82 (24): 12585–12588. doi:10.1128/JVI.01726-08. PMC 2593302. PMID 18842727.