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Vet Immunol Immunopathol. 2008 May 15;123(1-2):129-33. doi: 10.1016/j.vetimm.2008.01.027. Epub 2008 Jan 19.

Quantification of endogenous and exogenous feline leukemia virus sequences by real-time PCR assays.

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  • 1Clinical Laboratory, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Zurich, Winterthurerstrasse 260, 8057 Zurich, Switzerland. rtandon@vetclinics.uzh.ch

Abstract

Endogenous retroviruses are integrated in the genome of most vertebrates. They represent footprints of ancient retroviral infection and are vertically transmitted from parents to their offspring. In the genome of all domestic cats, sequences closely related to exogenous FeLV known as endogenous feline leukemia virus (enFeLV), are present. enFeLV are incapable of giving rise to infectious virus particles. However, transcription and translation of enFeLV have been demonstrated in tissues of healthy cats and in feline cell lines. The presence of enFeLV-env has been shown in specific embryonic tissues and adult thymic cells. In addition, the enFeLV-env region recombines with FeLV subgroup A giving rise to an infectious FeLV-B virus. enFeLV envelope protein, FeLIX (FeLV infectivity X-essory protein) is also involved in mediating FeLV-T infection. In order to test the hypothesis that the enFeLV loads play a role in exogenous FeLV-A infection and pathogenesis, quantitative real-time PCR and RT-PCR assays were developed. An assay, specific to U3 region of all different subtypes of exogenous FeLV, was designed and applied to quantify exogenous FeLV proviral or viral load in cats, while three real-time PCR assays were designed to quantify U3 and env enFeLV loads (two within U3 amplifying different sequences; one within env). enFeLV loads were investigated in blood samples derived from Swiss privately owned domestic cats, specific pathogen-free (SPF) cats and European wildcats (Felis silvestris silvestris). Significant differences in enFeLV loads were observed between privately owned cats and SPF cats as well as among SPF cats originating from different catteries and among domestic cats of different breeds. When privately owned cats were compared, FeLV-infected cats had higher loads than uninfected cats. In addition, wildcats had higher enFeLV loads than domestic cats. In conclusion, the quantitative real-time PCR assays described herein are important prerequisites to quantify enFeLV proviral loads in felids and thus are important tools to investigate the role of enFeLV loads in FeLV infection.

PMID:
18295344
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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