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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Sep 1980; 77(9): 5120–5124.
PMCID: PMC350008

Genetic structure of avian myeloblastosis virus, released from transformed myeloblasts as a defective virus particle


Chicken myeloblasts transformed by avian myeloblastosis virus (AMV) in the absence of nondefective helper virus (termed nonproducer cells) were found to release a defective virus particle (DVP) that contains avian tumor viral gag proteins but lacks envelope glycoprotein and a DNA polymerase. Nonproducer cells contain a Pr76 gag precursor protein and also a protein that is indistinguishable from the Pr180 gag-pol protein of nondefective viruses. The RNA of the DVP is 7.5 kilobases (kb) long and is 0.7 kb shorter than the 8.2-kb RNAs of the helper viruses of AMV, MAV-1 and MAV-2. Comparisons based on RNA·cDNA hybridization and mapping of RNase T1-resistant oligonucleotides indicated that DVP RNA shares with MAV RNAs nearly isogenic 5′-terminal gag and pol-related sequences of 5.3 kb and a 3′-terminal c-region of 0.7 kb that is different from that found in other avian tumor viruses. Adjacent to the c-region, DVP RNA contains a contiguous specific sequence of 1.5 kb defined by 14 specific oligonucleotides. Except for two of these oligonucleotides that map at its 5′ end, this sequence is unrelated to any sequences of nondefective avian tumor viruses of four different envelope subgroups as well as to the specific sequences of fibroblast-transforming avian acute leukemia and sarcoma viruses of four different RNA subgroups. The specific sequence of the DVP RNA is present in infectious stocks of AMV from this and other laboratories in an AMV-transformed myeloblast line from another laboratory, and it is about 70% related to nucleotide sequences of E26 virus, an independent isolate of an AMV-like virus. Preliminary experiments show DVP to be leukemogenic if fused into susceptible cells in the presence of helper virus. We conclude that DVP RNA is the leukemogenic component of infectious AMV and that its specific sequence, termed AMV, may carry genetic information for oncogenicity. Thus we have found here a transformation-specific RNA sequence, unrelated to helper virus, in a highly oncogenic virus that does not transform fibroblasts.

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Selected References

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