Fujinami sarcoma virus (FSV) genome codes for the gag-fps fusion protein FSV-P130. The amino acid sequence of the 3' one-third portion in v-fps is partially homologous to the 3' half of pp60src, or the kinase domain, but the sequence of the 5' portion is unique to v-fps. To identify a possible domain structure in the v-fps sequence responsible for cell transformation, we constructed various deletion mutants of FSV with molecularly cloned viral DNA. Their transforming activities were assayed by measuring focus formation on chicken embryo fibroblasts and rat 3Y1 cells and tumor formation in chickens. The mutants carrying a deletion at the 3' portion in v-fps, the kinase domain, lost transforming activity. The mutants carrying an approximately 1-kilobase deletion within the 5' portion of the v-fps sequence retained focus-forming activity and tumorigenicity in the chicken system, but the efficiency of focus formation was about 10 times lower than that of the wild type. The morphology of these transformed cells was distinct from that observed in cells infected with wild-type FSV. Furthermore, these mutants could not transform rat 3Y1 cells, although wild-type FSV DNA transformed rat 3Y1 cells at a high frequency. The mutants carrying a larger deletion in the 5' portion of fps completely lacked the transforming activity. These results suggest that the 3' portion of the v-fps sequence is necessary but not sufficient for cell transformation and that the 5' portion of v-fps has a role in the transforming activity
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