Adsorption and penetration of retroviruses into eucaryotic cells is mediated by retroviral envelope glycoproteins interacting with host receptors. Recombinant avian leukosis viruses (ALVs) differing only in envelope determinants that interact with host receptors for subgroup A or E ALVs have been found to have unexpectedly distinctive patterns of tissue-specific replication. Recombinants of both subgroups were highly expressed in bursal lymphocytes as well as in cultured chicken embryo fibroblasts. In contrast, the subgroup A but not subgroup E host range allowed high levels of expression in skeletal muscle, while subgroup E but not subgroup A envelope glycoproteins permitted efficient replication in the thymus. A subgroup B virus (RAV-2), like the subgroup E viruses, demonstrated a distinct bursal and thymic tropism, further supporting the theory that genes encoding receptors for subgroup B and E viruses are allelic. The source of long terminal repeats (LTRs) or adjacent sequences also influenced tissue-specific replication, with the LTRs from endogenous virus RAV-0 supporting efficient replication in the bursa and thymus but not in skeletal muscle. These results indicate that ALV env and LTR regions are responsible for unexpectedly distinctive tissue tropisms.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/david_brown2/16/