Journal of Virology
LP-BM5 murine leukemia virus-infected C57BL/6 mice develop profound immunodeficiency and B-cell lymphomas. The LP-BM5 complex contains a mixture of defective (BM5def) and replication-competent helper viruses among which BM5def is the primary causative agent of disease. The BM5def primary open reading frame (ORF1) encodes the single gag precursor protein (Pr60gag). Our lab has recently demonstrated that a novel immunodominant cytotoxic-T-lymphocyte (CTL) epitope (SYNTGRFPPL) is expressed from a +1-nucleotide translational open reading frame of BM5def during the course of normal retrovirus expression. The SYNTGRFPPL CTL epitope may be generated from either of two initiation methionines present, ORF2a or ORF2b, located downstream of the ORF1 initiation site. This study investigates the role(s) of the alternative ORF2-derived gagprotein(s) of BM5def in viral pathogenesis. We have examined the disease-inducing capabilities of mutant viruses in which the translational potential of either the initiating ORF2a or ORF2b AUG has been disrupted. Although these mutated viruses are capable of wild-type ORF1 expression, they are unable to induce disease. Our data strongly suggest the existence of a novel ORF2 product(s) that is required for LP-BM5-induced pathogenesis and have potentially broad implications for other retroviral diseases.
Gaur, Arti and Green, William R., "Role of a Cytotoxic-T-Lymphocyte Epitope-Defined, Alternative gag Open Reading Frame in the Pathogenesis of a Murine Retrovirus-Induced Immunodeficiency Syndrome" (2004). Open Dartmouth: Faculty Open Access Articles. 1072.