We isolated and characterized two spontaneous, weakly leukemogenic mutants of Rauscher spleen focus-forming virus (R-SFFV) that contain mutations in nonoverlapping regions of the membrane envelope (env) glycoprotein gene. As reported previously (M. Ruta and D. Kabat, J. Virol. 35:844-853, 1980), the replication-defective R-SFFV encodes a membrane glycoprotein with an apparent M(r) of 54,000 (gp54) which is structurally and immunologically related to the membrane envelope glycoproteins of dual-tropic murine leukemia viruses. Mutant R-SFFV clones 3-25 and 4-3 encode abnormally sized gp54-related glycoproteins with apparent M(r)s of 52,000 (gp52) and 45,000 (gp45), respectively. Northern and Southern blot analyses of the mutant R-SFFV nucleic acids indicated that an insertion has occurred in the 3-25 env gene and that a deletion has occurred in the 4-3 env gene. Furthermore, resriction endonuclease analyses and comparisons of the fragmentation patterns of the wild-type and mutant glycoproteins generated by partial proteolysis with Staphylococcus aureus V8 protease indicated that the mutations affect nonoverlapping domains of the envelope glycoprotein (amino-terminal fragment affected in 3-25 glycoprotein and carboxyl-terminal fragment affected in 4-3 glycoprotein). Glycosylation inhibition studies indicated that the reduced size of gp52 is caused at least partly by loss of an asparagine-linked oligosaccharide. In addition, these mutant viruses have dramatically reduced leukemogenicities compared with wild-type R-SFFV. We conclude that the gp54 structural gene is required for initiation or amplification of the splenic erythroblast hyperplasia which characterizes the preleukemic phase of Rauscher disease.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science