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The spleen focus-forming virus (SFFV) envelope gene, when introduced into mice in the absence of other SFFV genes, induces acute erythroleukemia

The spleen focus-forming virus (SFFV) envelope gene, when introduced into mice in the absence of other SFFV genes, induces acute erythroleukemia

Journal of Virology 62(6): 2158-2163

Previous studies in our laboratory and others have been consistent with the hypothesis that the envelope (env) gene of the spleen focus-forming virus (SFFV) is the only gene essential for the induction of acute erythroleukemia. However, no studies have been carried out with the SFFV env gene in the complete absence of other SFFV sequences. To accomplish this goal, we isolated the sequences that encode the envelope glycoprotein, gp52, of SFFVA and expressed them in a Moloney murine leukemia virus-based double-expression vector containing the neomycin resistance gene. The method used to produce retrovirus stocks in tissue culture cells affected the expression of the gp52 gene in the vector and the subsequent pathogenicity of the vector in mice. Highly pathogenic virus stocks were obtained by cotransfection of vector and helper virus DNAs into fibroblasts, followed by virus replication and spread through the cell population. Mice infected with this stock developed a rapid erythroid disease that was indistinguishable from that induced by the entire SFFV genome, and the virus stock transformed erythroid cells in vitro. Spleen cells from the diseased mice expressed the SFFV env gene product but not the SFFV gag gene product. As expected, mice given the virus containing the SFFV env gene in the reverse orientation did not express the SFFV env gene product or develop erythroleukemia. This study, therefore, demonstrated (i) that double-expression retroviral vectors can be used under specific conditions to produce viruses expressing high levels of a particular gene and (ii) that incorporation of the SFFV env gene into such a vector in the absence of other SFFV sequences results in a retrovirus which is as pathogenic as the original SFFV.

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Accession: 041758793

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PMID: 2835516

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