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Nature. 1988 Apr 21;332(6166):731-4.

Transduction of endogenous envelope genes by feline leukaemia virus in vitro.

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Department of Cancer Biology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts 02115.


Feline leukaemia viruses (FeLV) are exogenous retroviruses that can be detected in most cats with leukaemia, aplastic anaemia, myeloproliferative diseases and fatal immunosuppression. FeLV isolates have been divided into three subgroups, based on the viral envelope-determined properties of interference and host range in vitro. FeLV-A is present in all natural isolates and is generally minimally pathogenic. FeLV-B is found with FeLV-A in isolates from approximately 40% of natural infections and in a higher percentage of cats with lymphoma. Following the fundamental observations of genetic reassortment of avian retroviruses with endogenous viral genes and the origination of lymphomagenic viruses during the ontogeny of AKR mice, we show here that transfection of feline cells with FeLV-A DNA results in its recombination with endogenous FeLV-related sequences to produce viruses with the structural and host range properties of FeLV-B. Thus in vitro propagation of a retrovirus may result in the generation of variants with very different properties.

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