The Rmcf locus restricts the in vitro replication of mink cell focus-forming (MCF) viruses in cell cultures derived from mice carrying the resistance allele. Previously we reported that in cell cultures from first backcross progeny, this Rmcf-linked restriction segregates with the expression of an endogenous retroviral gp70 serologically related to that of MCF viruses. The current report details the results of genetic studies designed to examine the possible association of this endogenous gp70 with resistance of mice to Friend murine leukemia virus (F-MuLV)-induced erythroleukemia. This env gene segregates as a single dominant trait in (DBA/2 X IRW) X IRW progeny, in which the expression of the gene can be detected by serological techniques. Results indicated that the gp70- progeny developed leukemia at the same rate as the susceptible IRW parent, whereas the tempo of disease among the gp70+ progeny was significantly slower. However, the resistance mediated by this gene was only partial, since most of the gp70+ offspring eventually developed erythroleukemia when followed for 6 mo. This endogenous gp70 also segregated with a restriction to the expression of recombinant MCF viruses after infection with F-MuLV. Since in this study all unlinked genes segregated independently, this is direct evidence that MCF viruses participate in the induction of erythroleukemia.

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