The gp70 family of glycoproteins is distinguished by the role of these molecules as constituents of C-type viral envelopes and also as Mendelian cellular constituents expressed independently of virus production.
The source of G(IX)-gp70 in the serum of 129 strain mice, which are not overt producers of virus, could not be traced to any organ or tissue that is known to be G(IX)-positive by serological tests. Hematopoietic tissues were excluded as source of serum G(IX)-gp70 by tests with reciprocal radiation chimeras made from 129 and 129-G(IX)(-) donors and recipients. Thymus and spleen were excluded because excision of these organs did not affect levels of G(IX)-gp70 in the serum.
The serum of young adult 129 males contains roughly four times as much G(IX)-gp70 as adult 129 females and the levels rise in both sexes with increasing age. Castration of 129 males reduced the level of serum G(IX)-gp70 to that of females, and the level was fully restored by testosterone. Thus the epididymis and seminal fluid, though rich in G(IX)-gp70, do not contribute significant amounts of G(IX)-gp70 to the serum.
The level of G(IX)-gp70 in the serum of testosterone-treated females, though more than double that of untreated females, did not reach the level of normal males, under the conditions tested. This may signify that G(IX)-gp70 production by males is subject to imprinting by testosterone in early life.
Evidently the main source of serum G(IX)-gp70 is a tissue or organ that is common to males and females, is directly or indirectly responsive to testosterone, and has not so far been identified serologically as G(IX)- positive.