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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

In vivo evolution and selection of recombinant feline leukemia virus species.

Ecotropic feline leukemia viruses subgroup A (FeLV-A) is known to recombine with endogenous FeLV (enFeLV) env elements yielding polytropic FeLV-B viruses. However, scattered nucleotide differences exist between enFeLV env elements and corresponding sequences of exogenous FeLV-B isolates. To address this disparity, we examined recombinant FeLV (rFeLV) viruses obtained from three experimentally-induced feline thymic tumors, along with rFeLVs derived from one naturally-occurring thymic tumor. Two of the three experimental cats were challenged with a FeLV-A/Rickard preparation, while one cat received this FeLV-A along with a mixture of in vitro-generated rFeLVs. The FeLV-A/Rickard preparation employed in this study was shown to be free of detectable rFeLVs since no recombinant products were observed in this preparation following nested PCR analyses. For each of the four tumor DNAs, nucleotide sequence analysis was performed on multiple clones of rFeLV-specific PCR products derived from the surface glycoprotein (SU) portion of the recombinant proviral env gene. Relative to the parental enFeLV sequence used to generate the rFeLVs, a total of 19 nucleotide differences were found scattered within the SU region of the env gene in these in vivo-derived rFeLV clones. Most interestingly, this set of 19 differences led to complete sequence identity with natural FeLV-B isolates. Our results indicate these differences are present early in the in vivo evolution of recombinant viruses, suggesting that rFeLVs harboring these differences are strongly selected. We also present evidence indicating an in vivo selection pattern exists for specific recombinant species containing relatively greater amounts of enFeLV-derived SU sequence. This in vivo selection process appears to be gradual, occurring over the infection timecourse, yielding rFeLV species which have recombination structural motifs similar to those seen in natural FeLV-B isolates.[1]


  1. In vivo evolution and selection of recombinant feline leukemia virus species. Bechtel, M.K., Mathes, L.E., Hayes, K.A., Phipps, A.J., Roy-Burman, P. Virus Res. (1998) [Pubmed]
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