We have constructed an efficient new retroviral vector containing strong promoting elements derived from the Friend murine leukemia virus (F-MuLV) long terminal repeat (LTR) and have used the vector to demonstrate that overexpression of human c-fps/fes can transform established mouse cells. When a c-fps/fes cDNA was cloned into the vector, this viral DNA and the recovered virus induced very high levels of the c-fps/fes product NCP92 and tumorigenic transformation of NIH 3T3 cells. Compared with an isogenic vector under control of a Moloney MuLV-derived LTR, the vector driven by the F-MuLV LTR induced 3- to 10-times-higher levels of expression of c-fps/fes, a higher level of phosphotyrosine in cellular proteins, and a virus whose transforming activity was 2 orders of magnitude greater. We conclude (i) that normal c-fps/fes can induce morphologic transformation and that its transforming activity is a function of the level of expression of NCP92 and (ii) that the vector based on the F-MuLV LTR is more efficient than the vector driven by a Moloney MuLV LTR in inducing high levels of expression and measurable biological activity
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