Loss of antigenic epitopes as the result of env gene recombination in retrovirus-induced leukemia in immunocompetent mice

Kathleen M. Tumas, Judith M. Poszgay, Nili Avidan, Stephen J. Ksiazek, Beth Overmoyer, Kenneth J. Blank, Michael B. Prystowsky

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30 Scopus citations


The murine leukemia virus, E-55+ virus, induces a thymic lymphoma/leukemia in 100% of BALB.K mice infected as adults after a latent period of 4 months or more (Pozsgay et al., Virology 173, 330-334, 1989). Two molecular clones of virus designated E-55+ and E-55— based on their ability to encode the E-55 epitope detected by the monoclonal antibody 55 (mAb 55) were isolated from a leukemic BALB.K mouse inoculated with a biologically cloned E-55+ virus (Chesebro et al., Virology 112, 131-144, 1981). Env gene sequence analysis of E-55+ and E-55— clones showed that the E-55— virus was generated from the E-55+ virus as the result of a recombination between E-55+ virus and the endogenous ecotropic virus, emv-1, carried in the genome of the BALB.K mouse strain. The recombinant E-55— virus is replication competent. This recombination event and the consequential expression of E-55— virus consistently occur in immunocompetent BALB.K mice inoculated with the E-55+ virus and appear to play a role in the loss of epitopes recognized by virus neutralizing antibodies. The loss of these epitopes apparently allows the virus to evade the host immune response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)587-595
Number of pages9
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1993
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology

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