Previous studies have indicated that the oncogene v-sis of simian sarcoma virus (SSV) encodes a growth factor that is structurally and functionally similar to platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF). In the present investigation we have analysed the phenotypic characteristics of human foreskin fibroblasts transformed by SSV. It was found that the PDGF receptors were extensively down-regulated. This finding is consistent with a high, local, extracellular concentration of a PDGF-like factor, synthesized by the transformed cell. The receptors were up-regulated by suramin, a drug that is known to dissociate PDGF and the v-sis product from the PDGF receptors. A cell-associated v-sis product of mol. wt 24,000 was identified by immunoprecipitation with PDGF antibodies; release of this component was induced by a high concentration of exogenous PDGF, indicating that a fraction of the product is associated with the PDGF receptors. SSV was not found to be an immortalizing virus; when serially passaged, SSV-transformed cells had essentially the same life-span as their non-transformed counterparts. Moreover, SSV did not induce growth in soft agar beyond the level afforded by exogenously added PDGF. Thus, the present study favors the notion that SSV transformation is mediated by a growth factor that mimics PDGF but has no further cellular effects.