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Arch Virol. 2002;147(2):305-19.

Productive infection of a mink cell line with porcine endogenous retroviruses (PERVs) but lack of transmission to minks in vivo.

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Robert Koch-Institut, Berlin, Germany.


Porcine endogenous retroviruses (PERVs) are considered a special risk for xenotransplantation because they are an integral part of the porcine genome and are able to infect cells of numerous species including humans in vitro. Among these cells, the mink lung epithelial cell line Mv1Lu could be productively infected with PERV. Provirus integration was detected by PCR, expression of viral proteins was shown by immunostaining and reverse transcriptase was detected in cell supernatants. PERV produced from mink cells could infect both, uninfected mink Mv1Lu cells and uninfected human 293 cells, with considerably higher virus production by human cells. Typical type C retroviruses were observed in PERV-infected mink cells using electron microscopy together with numerous multivesicular body (MVB)-like structures containing small virus-like particles, not present in uninfected mink cells. These MVBs could be stained with PERV-specific serum. In an attempt to establish a small animal model, PERV grown on mink cells was inoculated into adult and newborn American minks. Neither antibody production against PERV nor integration of viral DNA or production of viral proteins in tissues of different organs could be detected 12 weeks post virus inoculation, indicating that PERV infection had not occurred.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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