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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1979 Oct;76(10):5360-4.

Mouse mammary tumor virus genome expression in chemical carcinogen-induced mammary tumors in low- and high-tumor-incidence mouse strains.


Involvement of mouse mammary tumor virus (MMTV) in 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene (DMBA)-induced mammary tumorigenesis was investigated in low- (BALB/c) and high- (BALB/cfC3H) mammary-tumor-incidence mouse strains. Both strains contain endogenous MMTV integrated into the cellular genome. Additionally, BALB/cfC3H mice are infected with exogenous MMTV-S which is responsible for a higher incidence of mammary tumors in breeding females. Administration of DMBA to virgin mice of both strains resulted in a moderate frequency of mammary tumors within 40 wk after treatment. No differences were found in DMBA-induced tumor incidences at 18 wk (6% and 7%) or at 38 wk (29% and 36%) after treatment of BALB/c and BALB/cfC3H mice, respectively. Expression of MMTV in these tumors was examined by assaying for the presence of MMTV RNA by hybridization using MMTV-specific cDNA and by immunohistochemical staining utilizing antibodies against MMTV 52,000-dalton glycoprotein, gp52, and 28,000-dalton internal protein, p28. Of 16 BALB/c tumors assayed, 11 did not contain detectable levels of MMTV RNA and the remaining 5 tumors contained only low levels (0.0005-0.0010%) of viral RNA. Importantly, MMTV RNA was not detected in 5 of 27 BALB/cfC3H tumors. The other BALB/cfC3H tumors contained quantities of MMTV RNA ranging from 0.0006 to 0.4170%. Most BALB/cfC3H tumors with detectable levels of MMTV RNA also synthesized viral proteins gp52 and p28. Thus, expression of the complete MMTV genome is not requisite for maintenance of the tumor phenotype in DMBA-induced mammary tumors in either BALB/c or BALB/cfC3H virgin mice under 1 year of age.

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