Send to

Choose Destination
Virology. 1992 Oct;190(2):849-55.

Biologically selected recombinants between feline leukemia virus (FeLV) subgroup A and an endogenous FeLV element.

Author information

Department of Pathology, University of Southern California School of Medicine, Los Angeles 90033.


In efforts to elucidate the proximal leukemogens that might be produced during a feline leukemia virus (FeLV) infection of cats, homologous recombinations between molecularly cloned exogenous and endogenous FeLV proviruses of known sequences were examined in cell cultures in vitro. A plasmid containing an infectious member of the most commonly occurring FeLV subgroup (FeLV subgroup A or FeLV-A) was coexpressed with noninfectious constructs containing the envelope (env) gene of an endogenously inherited FeLV-like feline genomic element in transfected feline fibroblasts. The viruses generated were selected for their ability to propagate in human cells which are resistant to infection by the parental ecotropic FeLV-A or the noninfectious endogenous constructs. An analysis of the recombinants thus derived identified a limited number of sites in the env gene which were preferentially utilized in the generation of recombinant FeLVs under the selection conditions used. These sites were clustered in the surface glycoprotein (SU) moiety of the env gene, and it appeared that most, but not all, of the SU gene product of FeLV-A, beginning from the N-terminus, can be replaced by sequences from an endogenous element, still allowing the virus to be biologically viable. In fact, these substitutions in the env gene expanded infectivity of the parental FeLV-A from ecotropic to polytropic cell tropism. Additionally, substitutions in the SU region yielded many recombinants in which a primary neutralizing pentapeptide epitope of FeLV-A was altered because of its variance in the endogenous element. In several of the recombinants, this sequence was also found to be frequently mutated. Consistent with the changes identified in this antibody-binding domain, the recombinant viruses were only weakly inhibited by a monoclonal antibody directed against this epitope, while FeLV-A was highly sensitive to neutralization.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center