Molecular analysis of immunosuppression induced by virus replication in lymphocytes

H. K. Heard, K. O'Connor, D. S. Strayer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

The relationship between immunosuppression and oncogenesis can be determined by studying the molecular interactions between tumor-inducing viruses and lymphocytes. We approached this study by using a unique system of two genetically related Leporipoxviruses, malignant fibroma virus (MV), and Shope fibroma virus (SFV). MV induces a syndrome of a highly lethal, disseminated myxosarcoma, severe immune suppression, and replicates in lymphocytes both in vivo and in vitro. In contrast, SFV causes a benign fibromyxosarcoma without immune dysfunction and cannot replicate in lymphocytes. Earlier studies demonstrated that transfer of a 10.8-kb Bam HI piece of MV (fragment 'C') to SFV resulted in the ability of SFV to replicate in lymphocytes and suppress immune function. These results suggested that lymphocytotropic replication and immune suppression was located on the left side of fragment C. We extended these studies by generating families of recombinants between MV and SFV by using subfragments of fragment C. The resulting recombinant viruses were analyzed for their ability to replicate in lymphocytes, suppress immune function, and produce tumors. Those recombinants expressing MV-like characteristics were mapped by endonuclease digestion. This study demonstrates that recombinants containing a 3.6-kb Nde I subfragment, as well as those containing an overlapping 1.9-kb Hinc II subfragment, were capable of replicating in lymphocytes, suppressing immune functions, and inducing disseminated tumors in rabbits. Our study has therefore identified a portion of MV DNA sufficient to transfer the unique pathogenicity of MV to SFV, and suggests that control of immune suppression and tumor dissemination may not necessarily be mediated by the same viral genes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3992-3999
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Immunology
Volume144
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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