Three murine mammary tumor virus (MuMTV)-producing epithelial cell lines derived from murine mammary tumors were examined in order to identify the MuMTV-specific cell surface antigens and their distribution on the cell surface, to study the kinetics of the MuMTV envelope precursor processing, virus assembly, and release, and to characterize the soluble MuMTV antigens that are shed into culture medium. Cell surface labeling experiments showed that only the mature MuMTV envelope glycoproteins gp52 and gp36 were exposed on the cell surface, and that gp52 was more abundant than gp36. In cells producing large quantities of MuMTV, expression of gp52 on the cell surface was shown by immunoelectron microscopy to be localized predominantly on the surface of budding virions and not on smooth areas of the cell surface where virus was not budding. The cell surface associated gp36 was found not to be incorporated into budding virions. A few cells in all three cell lines were found to produce only a few or no MuMTV particles and in these cells, unlike in the high virus-producing cells, considerable quantities of gp52 were expressed on the surface membrane. All three cell lines were found to shed large amounts of the MuMTV env precursor polyprotein as well as the mature non-virion-associated glycoprotein, gp52, into the culture medium. The envelope precursor protein (P75env) that was shed into the culture medium was found to differ from the predominant form of the cellular env precursor Pr70env in that (1) P75env migrated with an apparent higher molecular weight than Pr70env in SDS gels; (2) Pr70env contained only the core oligosaccharide, whereas P75env contained fucose in addition to the core sugars; (3) two-dimensional gel electrophoretic analysis showed that Pr70env could be resolved into three to four components migrating in the basic region of the isoelectric focussing gel (pH 7-8), whereas P75env was resolved into 9-13 components migrating in a more acidic region of the gel (pH 5-7). The molecular structure of the exfoliated gp52 was found to be similar to that of the gp52 that was incorporated into the virions although the virion-associated gp52 was not the source of the gp52 in the medium. Our quantitative pulse-chase studies suggest that of the two populations of MuMTV env precursors that are present in MuMTV-producing cells, only Pr70env is processed intracellularly to give rise to the mature MuMTV envelope proteins gp52 and gp36.
ASJC Scopus subject areas