Malignant transformation of erythroid cells in vivo by introduction of a nonreplicating retrovirus vector

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Science  28 Jun 1985:
Vol. 228, Issue 4707, pp. 1549-1552
DOI: 10.1126/science.2990034


DNA from a replication-defective spleen focus-forming virus (SFFV) was reconstructed and transfected into psi-2 cells containing a packaging-defective mutant of Moloney murine leukemia virus. Replication-incompetent retrovirus particles (helper virus-free containing genomes that express the transforming envelope gene of SFFV (gp52) transformed bone marrow cells in vitro and, after direct intravenous introduction of the vector, induced malignant erythroid disease in vivo. Disease induction was dependent on prior treatment of mice with phenylhydrazine, which probably increased the availability of erythroid target cells. Since there was no evidence of virus particle expression in mice with malignant disease, this study demonstrates the acute oncogenic potential of a limited number of erythroid cells expressing SFFV gp52. Direct inoculation of animals with nonreplicating retroviral vectors containing transforming genes may be useful in study the oncogenic effects of such genes.