A new cell surface antigen of the mouse related to xenotropic murine leukemia virus (MuLV) is described. The antigen, designated G(erld), is defined by cytotoxic tests with the B6-x-ray-induced ERLD and naturally occurring antibody. G(erld) is distinct from all previously defined cell surface antigens. Monoclonal antibody with the same specificity has been developed. Inbred mouse strains are classified as G(erld)+ or G(erld)- according to the presence of absence of the antigen on lymphoid cells. G(erld)+ strains differ with regard to quantitative expression of G(erld) on normal thymocytes. The emergence of G(erld)+ tumors in G(erld)- strains indicates the presence of genes coding for the antigen even in strains not normally expressing the antigen. G(erld) has the characteristic of a differentiation antigen in normal mice. In G(erld)+ strains, high levels of the antigen are found on thymocytes with lower levels being detected on cells of spleen, lymph nodes and bone marrow. No G(erld) was detected in brain or kidney or on erythrocytes. The segregation ratios for G(erld) expression on thymocytes in backcross and F2 mice of crosses between G(erld)+ (B6, 129, and B6-Gix+) and G(erld)- (BALB/c) strains suggest that G(erld) expression is controlled by a single locus in B6, by two unlinked loci in 129, and by three unlinked loci in B6-Gix+ mice. Induction of the antigen by MuLV infection of permissive cells in vitro indicates that G(erld) is closely related to xenotropic and dualtropic MuLV; all xenotropic and dualtropic MuLV tested induced the antigen, whereas the majority of ecotropic and the two amphotropic MuLV failed to do so. As dualtropic MuLV are thought to be recombinants between ecotropic and xenotropic MuLV sequences, G(erld) coding by dualtropic MuLV may signify the contribution of the xenotropic part in the recombinational event. Serological and biochemical characterization indicates that G(erld) is related to the gp 70 component of the MuLV envelope. The relation of G(erld) to the previously defined gp 70-related cell surface antigens (Gix, G(rada), and G(aksl2) is discussed, particularly with regard to their characteristics as differentiation antigens, the genetic origin of dualtropic MuLV, and the leukemogenicity of MuLV.

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