Identification of a Cellular Cofactor Required for Infection by Feline Leukemia Virus

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Science  10 Mar 2000:
Vol. 287, Issue 5459, pp. 1828-1830
DOI: 10.1126/science.287.5459.1828

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Retroviral infection involves continued genetic variation, leading to phenotypic and immunological selection for more fit virus variants in the host. For retroviruses that cause immunodeficiency, pathogenesis is linked to the emergence of T cell–tropic, cytopathic viruses. Here we show that an immunodeficiency-inducing, T cell–tropic feline leukemia virus (FeLV) has evolved such that it cannot infect cells unless both a classic multiple membrane-spanning receptor molecule (Pit1) and a second coreceptor or entry factor are present. This second receptor component, which we call FeLIX, was identified as an endogenously expressed protein that is similar to a portion of the FeLV envelope protein. This cellular protein can function either as a transmembrane protein or as a soluble component to facilitate infection.

  • * Present address: Respiratory and Enteric Virus Branch, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA 30333, USA.

  • To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: joverbau{at}

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