The potential association between integration or deletion of mouse mammary tumor virus (MMTV) retroviral sequences and the appearance of non-H-2 histocompatibility (H) antigen mutations was investigated. Genomic blots from inbred strains carrying 22 loss, gain-loss, and gain mutations on the BALB/c and C57BL/6 backgrounds were hybridized with probes homologous to the long terminal repeat (LTR) and envelope (env) regions of MMTV. Twenty-one mutants were identical in restriction patterns to the respective background strains with all tested restriction enzymes and both probes. However, genomic blots of one gain mutant, B6.C-KH-84, exhibited restriction fragments which were not exhibited by either of the parental strains, C57BL/6 or BALB/c. An additional 5.5 kb Eco RI fragment was observed with the env probe and additional 9.2 kb and 5.5 kb fragments were observed with the LTR probe. These observations were substantiated by hybridization of these two probes with genomic blots generated with additional restriction enzymes. Assuming that the new provirus contains a single, internal Eco RI site as has been observed for other MMTV proviral sequences, it is presumed that the new provirus includes both 5′ and 3′ LTRs in addition to the env region. Based on the unique sizes of the observed restriction fragments relative to other identified MMTV proviral sequences, this provirus has been designated Mtv-22. The potential role of Mtv-22 in the genesis of the gained histocompatibility antigen in B6.C-KH-84 is discussed.
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