RFM/Un mice express an endogenous type C retrovirus throughout their life span in many tissues; primary or established embryo fibroblast cell cultures do not express a virus but can be induced by exposure to 5-iodo-2'-deoxyuridine. All of our sources yielded a single ecotropic virus (RFV) which appeared to be related more closely to the endogenous N-tropic virus (WN1802N) of BALB/c mice than to Gross leukemia virus on the basis of two-dimensional gel electropherograms of virion proteins. No xenotropic or recombinant viruses were isolated by cocultivation techniques. RFV is N-tropic, and RFM/Un cells possess the Fv-1n allele, as indicated by restriction of B-tropic virus and susceptibility to Gross strain N-tropic virus. However, RFM cells are highly resistant to RFV and other endogenous N-tropic viruses. This resistance is expressed by two-hit titration kinetics and by inhibition of viral linear duplex DNA formation. This is similar to the effects of the Fv-1 locus, but preliminary work has shown no apparent genetic linkage between the two restrictions. The relative strength of the restriction, the presence of a single class of ecotropic virus, and the absence of recombinant viruses suggest that in RFM mice virus is expressed only in cells in which it is induced and not by cell-to-cell transmission
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