In these studies, we have shown data that are consistent with the hypothesis that mink cell focus-inducing viruses (MCF) play an important role in the generation of an erythroproliferative disease developing after injection of certain strains of newborn mice with ecotropic Friend murine leukemia virus (F-MuLV). Resistance to this disease is correlated with the endogenous expression of an MCF/xenotropic virus-gp70-related protein that may interfere with the replication or spread of MCF viruses. These ideas are supported by the following observations: (a) after infection with F-MuLV, only 6/13 strains of mice-developed disease, and studies with crosses between susceptible and resistant strains indicated that resistance was dominant. Although F-MuLV was shown to replicate equally well in all strains tested, viruses coding for MCF-specific viral envelope proteins could be detected only in the spleens of mice from strains that were resistant to F-MuLV-induced disease and not in the spleens of mice from strains that were resistant to F-MuLV-induced disease; (b) a Friend MCF (Fr-MCF) virus isolated from the spleen of an F-MuLV-infected mouse from a susceptible strain induced the same erythroproliferative disease when injected as an appropriate pseudotype into mice from susceptible but not resistant strains of mice; and (c) resistant but not susceptible strains of mice endogenously express MCF/xenotropic virus-related envelope glycoproteins that may be responsible for resistance by blocking receptors for MCF viruses. These results not only indicate that Fr-MCF virus is a crucial intermediate in the induction of disease by F-MuLV, but also suggest that a novel gene, either an MCF/xenotropic virus-related envelope gene or a gene controlling its expression, is responsible for resistance to erythroleukemia induced by F-MuLV.

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