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

Pathogenicity induced by feline leukemia virus, Rickard strain, subgroup A plasmid DNA (pFRA).

A new provirus clone of feline leukemia virus (FeLV), which we named FeLV-A (Rickard) or FRA, was characterized with respect to viral interference group, host range, complete genome sequence, and in vivo pathogenicity in specific-pathogen-free newborn cats. The in vitro studies indicated the virus to be an ecotropic subgroup A FeLV with 98% nucleotide sequence homology to another FeLV-A clone (F6A/61E), which had also been fully sequenced previously. Since subgroup B polytropic FeLVs (FeLV-B) are known to arise via recombination between ecotropic FeLV-A and endogenous FeLV (enFeLV) env elements, the in vivo studies were conducted by direct intradermal inoculation of the FRA plasmid DNA so as to eliminate the possibility of coinoculation of any FeLV-B which may be present in the inoculum prepared by propagating FeLV-A in feline cell cultures. The following observations were made from the in vivo experiments: (i) subgroup conversion from FeLV-A to FeLV-A and FeLV-B, as determined by the interference assay, appeared to occur in plasma between 10 and 16 weeks postinoculation (p.i.); (ii) FeLV-B-like recombinants (rFeLVs), however, could be detected in DNA isolated from buffy coats and bone marrow by PCR as early as 1 to 2 weeks p.i.; (iii) while a mixture of rFeLV species containing various amounts of N-terminal substitution of the endogenous FeLV-derived env sequences were detected at 8 weeks p.i., rFeLV species harboring relatively greater amounts of such substitution appeared to predominate at later infection time points; (iv) the deduced amino acid sequence of rFeLV clones manifested striking similarity to natural FeLV-B isolates, within the mid-SU region of the env sequenced in this work; and (v) four of the five cats, which were kept for determination of tumor incidence, developed thymic lymphosarcomas within 28 to 55 weeks p.i., with all tumor DNAs harboring both FeLV-A and rFeLV proviruses. These results provide direct evidence for how FeLV-B species evolve in vivo from FeLV-A and present a new experimental approach for efficient induction of thymic tumors in cats, which should be useful for the study of retroviral lymphomagenesis in this outbred species.[1]


  1. Pathogenicity induced by feline leukemia virus, Rickard strain, subgroup A plasmid DNA (pFRA). Chen, H., Bechtel, M.K., Shi, Y., Phipps, A., Mathes, L.E., Hayes, K.A., Roy-Burman, P. J. Virol. (1998) [Pubmed]
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