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J Virol. 1996 Jun;70(6):4167-72.

Moloney murine leukemia virus activates NF-kappa B.

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Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Cancer Research Center, Boston University School of Medicine, Massachusetts 02118, USA.


Nonacutely transforming retroviruses, such as Moloney murine leukemia virus (M-MuLV), differ from transforming viruses in their mechanisms of tumor induction. While the transforming viruses cause tumors by transduction of oncogenes, the leukemia retroviruses, lacking oncogenes, employ other mechanisms, including promoter insertion and enhancer activation. Although these two mechanisms occur in many tumors induced by leukemia viruses, a substantial proportion of such tumors do not show site-specific proviral insertions. Thus, other, unidentified virus-driven mechanisms may participate in tumorigenesis. In these studies, we show that infection of cells by M-MuLV activates expression of Rel family transcription factors. In murine cells chronically infected with M-MuLV, gel shift analyses with kappaB DNA-binding motifs from the murine immunoglobulin kappa light chain enhancer demonstrated induction of at least two distinct kappaB enhancer-binding complexes. Supershifting and immunoblotting analyses defined p50, p52, RelB, and c-Rel subunits as constituents of these virus-induced protein complexes. Transient transfections performed with kappaB-dependent reporter plasmids showed transcriptional activation in M-MuLV-infected cells relative to uninfected cells. Induction of Rel/NF-kappaB transcription factor activity by M-MuLV infection may prove relevant to the mechanism of M-MuLV-induced leukemia.

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