Vero cells are a lineage of cells used in cell cultures. The 'Vero' lineage was isolated from kidney epithelial cells extracted from an African green monkey (Chlorocebus sp.; formerly called Cercopithecus aethiops, this group of monkeys has been split into several different species). The lineage was developed on 27 March 1962, by Yasumura and Kawakita at the Chiba University in Chiba, Japan. The original cell line was named "Vero" after an abbreviation of verda reno, which means "green kidney" in Esperanto, while vero itself means "truth" in Esperanto.
Vero cells are used for many purposes, including:screening for the toxin of Escherichia coli, first named "Vero toxin" after this cell line, and later called "Shiga-like toxin" due to its similarity to Shiga toxin isolated from Shigella dysenteriae
as host cells for growing virus; for example, to measure replication in the presence or absence of a research pharmaceutical, the testing for the presence of rabies virus, or the growth of viral stocks for research purposes
as host cells for eukaryotic parasites, specially of the trypanosomatids
The Vero cell lineage is continuous and aneuploid. A continuous cell lineage can be replicated through many cycles of division and not become senescent. Aneuploidy is the characteristic of having an abnormal number of chromosomes.
Vero cells are interferon-deficient; unlike normal mammalian cells, they do not secrete interferon alpha or beta when infected by viruses. However, they still have the Interferon-alpha/beta receptor, so they respond normally when interferon from another source is added to the culture.
The whole genome sequence of a Vero cell line was determined by Japanese investigators in 2014. Chromosome 12 of Vero cells has a homozygous ~9-Mb deletion, causing the loss of the type I interferon gene cluster and cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors CDKN2A and CDKN2B in the genome. Although African green monkeys were previously classified as Cercopithecus aethiops, they have been placed within the genus Chlorocebus, which includes several species. The genome analysis indicated that the Vero cell lineage is derived from a female Chlorocebus sabaeus.