Thymocytes of several mouse strains were tested for expression of the gp69/71 envelope component of murine leukemia virus by surface iodination, followed by immunoprecipitation and sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS)-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. Theses strains included two congenic lines differing from their partner stocks with respect to expression of GIX antigen demonstrable in the cytoxicity assay. We conclude that:(a) two structural variants of gp69/71 can be expressed on mouse thymocytes, (b) these are distinguishable by a small difference in mobility in SDS gels, (c) one carries GIX antigen and the other not, (d) they are coded, or their expression is regulated, by different chromosomal loci that are not closely linked, and (e) both can be expressed together on the thymocytes of inbred mice. In the intact thymocyte plasma membrane, the sites of group-specific antigen shared by the two gp69/71 variants, unlike the GIX type specificity carried by only one of them, are probably inaccessible to antibody.

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