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J Virol. 2010 Dec;84(24):12841-9. doi: 10.1128/JVI.01863-10. Epub 2010 Oct 13.

Common inbred strains of the laboratory mouse that are susceptible to infection by mouse xenotropic gammaretroviruses and the human-derived retrovirus XMRV.

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Laboratory of Molecular Microbiology, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.


Laboratory mouse strains carry endogenous copies of the xenotropic mouse leukemia viruses (X-MLVs), named for their inability to infect cells of the laboratory mouse. This resistance to exogenous infection is due to a nonpermissive variant of the XPR1 gammaretrovirus receptor, a resistance that also limits in vivo expression of germ line X-MLV proviruses capable of producing infectious virus. Because laboratory mice vary widely in their proviral contents and in their virus expression patterns, we screened inbred strains for sequence and functional variants of the XPR1 receptor. We also typed inbred strains and wild mouse species for an endogenous provirus, Bxv1, that is capable of producing infectious X-MLV and that also contributes to the generation of pathogenic recombinant MLVs. We identified the active Bxv1 provirus in many common inbred strains and in some Japanese Mus molossinus mice but in none of the other wild mouse species that carry X-MLVs. Our screening for Xpr1 variants identified the permissive Xpr1(sxv) allele in 7 strains of laboratory mice, including a Bxv1-positive strain, F/St, which is characterized by lifelong X-MLV viremia. Cells from three strains carrying Xpr1(sxv), namely, SWR, SJL, and SIM.R, were shown to be infectable by X-MLV and XMRV; these strains carry different alleles at Fv1 and vary in their sensitivities to specific X/P-MLV isolates and XMRV. Several strains with Xpr1(sxv) lack the active Bxv1 provirus or other endogenous X-MLVs and may provide a useful model system to evaluate the in vivo spread of these gammaretroviruses and their disease potential in their natural host.

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