For several reasons the G(IX) antigen (1) has a prominent place in current work on murine leukemia virus (MuLV): In the prototype G(IX+) mouse strain 129, the G(IX) trait is mendelian, and is expressed selectively (though not exclusively) on thymocytes. Thus, expression of this cell surface component is under the control of cellular genes and is subject to the controls governing the differentiation of T lymphocytes (2). Although the 129 mouse produces no demonstrable leukemia virus such as that found in the AKR strain, it was soon realized that G(IX) antigen must in some way be related to MuLV, because productive infection with MuLV is frequently associated with appearance of G(IX) antigen on cells that are genotypically G(IX-), most notably on MuLV-infected rat cells, or cells that belong to other differentiation pathways (1). The basis of this connection between G(IX) and MuLV has recently become clear from the demonstration that G(IX) is one of MuLV envelope. Therefore, our working hypothesis is that the presence of G(IX) is one of the antigens present on gp69/71 (3,4), the major glycoprotein component of the MuLV envelope. Therefore, our working hypothesis is that the presence of G(IX) antigen always denotes the presence of gp69/71 (though not all variants of gp69/71 need necessarily carry G(IX)).
Study of the circumstances under which G(IX) is expressed on the cell surface is thus potentially a powerful approach to understanding how the expression of C-type viral genomes is controlled. Such studies are greatly facilitated by the availability of mutant and congenic strains of inbred mice which differ from the nonmutant or partner strains only with respect to one or another manifestation of the viral genome.
It is for this reason that we record here (Table I) some details of two G(IX) mutant and two G(IX) congenic stocks derived in our colonies at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC). In addition, to these four strains, Table I includes data for the three relevant partner strains, and for strain AKR, for comparison. These eight strains all differ from one another with respect to one or more MuLV-related traits.