Domestic cats infected with the horizontally transmitted feline leukemia virus subgroup A (FeLV-A) often produce mutants (termed FeLV-C) that bind to a distinct cell surface receptor and cause severe aplastic anemia in vivo and erythroblast destruction in bone marrow cultures. The major determinant for FeLV-C-induced anemia has been mapped to a small region of the surface envelope glycoprotein that is responsible for its receptor binding specificity. Thus, erythroblast destruction may directly or indirectly result from FeLV-C binding to its receptor. To address these issues, we functionally cloned a putative cell surface receptor for FeLV-C (FLVCR) by using a human T-lymphocyte cDNA library in a retroviral vector. Expression of the 2.0-kbp FLVCR cDNA in naturally resistant Swiss mouse fibroblasts and Chinese hamster ovary cells caused substantial susceptibility to FeLV-C but no change in susceptibilities to FeLV-B and other retroviruses. The predicted FLVCR protein contains 555 amino acids and 12 hydrophobic potential membrane- spanning sequences. Database searches indicated that FLVCR is a member of the major-facilitator superfamily of transporters and implied that it may transport an organic anion. RNA blot analyses showed that FLVCR mRNA is expressed in multiple hematopoietic lineages rather than specifically in erythroblasts. These results suggest that the targeted destruction of erythroblasts by FeLV-C may derive from their greater sensitivity to this virus rather than from a preferential susceptibility to infection.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science