The viral envelope is a major determinant for the induction of lymphoid and myeloid tumours by avian leukosis virus subgroups a and J, respectively

Chesters, P.M.; Howes, K.; Petherbridge, L.; Evans, S.; Payne, L.N.; Venugopal, K.

Journal of General Virology 83(Part 10): 2553-2561


ISSN/ISBN: 0022-1317
PMID: 12237439
Accession: 003986428

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Among the six envelope subgroups of avian leukosis virus (ALV) that infect chickens, subgroups A (ALV-A) and J (ALV-J) are the most pathogenic and widespread among commercial chicken populations. While ALV-A is predominantly associated with lymphoid leukosis (LL) and less frequently with erythroblastosis (EB), ALV-J mainly induces tumours of the myeloid lineage. In order to examine the basis for the lineage specificity of tumour induction by these two ALV subgroups, we constructed two chimeric viruses by substituting the env genes into the reciprocal proviral clones. The chimeric HPRS-103(A) virus carrying the subgroup A env gene is identical to ALV-J prototype virus HPRS-103 except for the env gene, and the chimeric RCAS(J) virus carrying the subgroup J env gene is identical to the parent replication-competent ALV-A vector RCAS except for the env gene. In experimentally inoculated chickens, HPRS-103(A) virus induced LL and EB similar to ALV-A isolates such as RAV-1, while RCAS(J) virus induced myeloid leukosis (ML) and EB, similar to ALV-J, suggesting that the env gene is the major determinant for the lineage-specific oncogenicity. There were genetic differences in susceptibility to tumour induction between line 0 and line 15(I) chickens, indicating that in addition to the env gene, other viral or host factors could also serve as determinants for oncogenicity. Induction of both LL and ML by the two chimeric viruses occurred through the activation of c-myc, while the EB tumours were induced by activation of the c-erbB oncogene.