Genotyping of feline leukemia virus in Mexican housecats.
ABSTRACT: Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) is a retrovirus with variable rates of infection globally. DNA was obtained from cats' peripheral blood mononuclear cells, and proviral DNA of pol and env genes was detected using PCR. Seventy-six percent of cats scored positive for FeLV using env-PCR; and 54 %, by pol-PCR. Phylogenetic analysis of both regions identified sequences that correspond to a group that includes endogenous retroviruses. They form an independent branch and, therefore, a new group of endogenous viruses. Cat gender, age, outdoor access, and cohabitation with other cats were found to be significant risk factors associated with the disease. This strongly suggests that these FeLV genotypes are widely distributed in the studied feline population in Mexico.
Project description:Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) and feline leukemia virus (FeLV) are retroviruses found within domestic and wild cat populations. These viruses cause severe illnesses that eventually lead to death. Housing cats communally for long periods of time makes shelters at high risk for virus transmission among cats. We tested 548 cats from 5 different sites across the island of Newfoundland for FIV and FeLV. The overall seroprevalence was 2.2% and 6.2% for FIV and FeLV, respectively. Two sites had significantly higher seroprevalence of FeLV infection than the other 3 sites. Analysis of sequences from the FeLV env gene (envelope gene) from 6 positive cats showed that 4 fell within the FeLV subtype-A, while 2 sequences were most closely related to FeLV subtype-B and endogenous feline leukemia virus (en FeLV). Varying seroprevalence and the variation in sequences at different sites demonstrate that some shelters are at greater risk of FeLV infections and recombination can occur at sites of high seroprevalence.
Project description:Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) is horizontally transmitted among cats and causes a variety of hematopoietic disorders. Five subgroups of FeLV, A to D and T, each with distinct receptor usages, have been described. Recently, we identified a new FeLV Env (TG35-2) gene from a pseudotyped virus that does not belong to any known subgroup. FeLV-A is the primary virus from which other subgroups have emerged via mutation or recombination of the subgroup A env gene. Retrovirus entry into cells is mediated by the interaction of envelope protein (Env) with specific cell surface receptors. Here, phenotypic screening of a human/hamster radiation hybrid panel identified SLC19A1, a feline reduced folate carrier (RFC) and potential receptor for TG35-2-phenotypic virus. RFC is a multipass transmembrane protein. Feline and human RFC cDNAs conferred susceptibility to TG35-2-pseudotyped virus when introduced into nonpermissive cells but did not render these cells permissive to other FeLV subgroups or feline endogenous retrovirus. Moreover, human cells with genomic deletion of RFC were nonpermissive for TG35-2-pseudotyped virus infection, but the introduction of feline and human cDNAs rendered them permissive. Mutation analysis of FeLV Env demonstrated that amino acid substitutions within variable region A altered the specificity of the Env-receptor interaction. We isolated and reconstructed the full-length infectious TG35-2-phenotypic provirus from a naturally FeLV-infected cat, from which the FeLV Env (TG35-2) gene was previously isolated, and compared the replication of the virus in hematopoietic cell lines with that of FeLV-A 61E by measuring the viral RNA copy numbers. These results provide a tool for further investigation of FeLV infectious disease.IMPORTANCE Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) is a member of the genus Gammaretrovirus, which causes malignant diseases in cats. The most prevalent FeLV among cats is FeLV subgroup A (FeLV-A), and specific binding of FeLV-A Env to its viral receptor, thiamine transporter feTHTR1, is the first step of infection. In infected cats, novel variants of FeLV with altered receptor specificity for viral entry have emerged by mutation or recombination of the env gene. A novel FeLV variant arose from a subtle mutation of FeLV-A Env, which altered the specific interaction of the virus with its receptor. RFC, a folate transporter, is a potential receptor for the novel FeLV variant. The perturbation of specific retrovirus-receptor interactions under selective pressure by the host results in the emergence of novel viruses.
Project description:A new provirus clone of feline leukemia virus (FeLV), which we named FeLV-A (Rickard) or FRA, was characterized with respect to viral interference group, host range, complete genome sequence, and in vivo pathogenicity in specific-pathogen-free newborn cats. The in vitro studies indicated the virus to be an ecotropic subgroup A FeLV with 98% nucleotide sequence homology to another FeLV-A clone (F6A/61E), which had also been fully sequenced previously. Since subgroup B polytropic FeLVs (FeLV-B) are known to arise via recombination between ecotropic FeLV-A and endogenous FeLV (enFeLV) env elements, the in vivo studies were conducted by direct intradermal inoculation of the FRA plasmid DNA so as to eliminate the possibility of coinoculation of any FeLV-B which may be present in the inoculum prepared by propagating FeLV-A in feline cell cultures. The following observations were made from the in vivo experiments: (i) subgroup conversion from FeLV-A to FeLV-A and FeLV-B, as determined by the interference assay, appeared to occur in plasma between 10 and 16 weeks postinoculation (p.i.); (ii) FeLV-B-like recombinants (rFeLVs), however, could be detected in DNA isolated from buffy coats and bone marrow by PCR as early as 1 to 2 weeks p.i.; (iii) while a mixture of rFeLV species containing various amounts of N-terminal substitution of the endogenous FeLV-derived env sequences were detected at 8 weeks p.i., rFeLV species harboring relatively greater amounts of such substitution appeared to predominate at later infection time points; (iv) the deduced amino acid sequence of rFeLV clones manifested striking similarity to natural FeLV-B isolates, within the mid-SU region of the env sequenced in this work; and (v) four of the five cats, which were kept for determination of tumor incidence, developed thymic lymphosarcomas within 28 to 55 weeks p.i., with all tumor DNAs harboring both FeLV-A and rFeLV proviruses. These results provide direct evidence for how FeLV-B species evolve in vivo from FeLV-A and present a new experimental approach for efficient induction of thymic tumors in cats, which should be useful for the study of retroviral lymphomagenesis in this outbred species.
Project description:Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) subgroups have emerged in infected cats via the mutation or recombination of the env gene of subgroup A FeLV (FeLV-A), the primary virus. We report the isolation and characterization of a novel env gene, TG35-2, and report that the TG35-2 pseudotype can be categorized as a novel FeLV subgroup. The TG35-2 envelope protein displays strong sequence identity to FeLV-A Env, suggesting that selection pressure in cats causes novel FeLV subgroups to emerge.
Project description:Objectives:Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) and feline leukaemia virus (FeLV) are retroviruses affecting cats worldwide. The objectives of the study were to estimate the prevalence of these retroviruses in domestic cats in Hungary and to characterise the phylogenetic relationships of FIV strains. Methods:A total of 335 anticoagulated whole-blood samples obtained from both a healthy and ill cat population were examined for the presence of FIV and FeLV with two methods: ELISA and PCR. Statistical analysis was carried out to analyse the data obtained. Sequencing and phylogenetic analysis of partial polymerase (pol) gene sequences was performed to describe circulating FIV subtypes. Results:Statistical analysis showed 11.8% and 9.9% true prevalence of FeLV and FIV, respectively, with ELISA. The apparent prevalence calculated from the PCR results were 17.3% for FeLV and 13.1% for FIV. Phylogenetic analysis of partial pol gene sequences obtained from 22 FIV strains showed that all observed Hungarian strains belonged to FIV subtype B. The strains were grouped into several monophyletic subgroups reflecting the geographic locations of the origin of the samples. The overall mean genetic similarity between the analysed strains was 98.2%. Conclusions and relevance:We report the first thorough overview of the prevalence of FeLV and FIV in Hungary, which is relatively high, and give insight into the genetic diversity of Hungarian strains of FIV.
Project description:The pathogenic subgroup C feline leukemia virus (FeLV-C) arises in infected cats as a result of mutations in the envelope (Env) of the subgroup A FeLV (FeLV-A). To better understand emergence of FeLV-C and potential FeLV intermediates that may arise, we characterized FeLV Env sequences from the primary FY981 FeLV isolate previously derived from an anemic cat. Here, we report the characterization of the novel FY981 FeLV Env that is highly related to FeLV-A Env but whose variable region A (VRA) receptor recognition sequence partially resembles the VRA sequence from the prototypical FeLV-C/Sarma Env. Pseudotype viruses bearing FY981 Env were capable of infecting feline, human, and guinea pig cells, suggestive of a subgroup C phenotype, but also infected porcine ST-IOWA cells that are normally resistant to FeLV-C and to FeLV-A. Analysis of the host receptor used by FY981 suggests that FY981 can use both the FeLV-C receptor FLVCR1 and the feline FeLV-A receptor THTR1 for infection. However, our results suggest that FY981 infection of ST-IOWA cells is not mediated by the porcine homologue of FLVCR1 and THTR1 but by an alternative receptor, which we have now identified as the FLVCR1-related protein FLVCR2. Together, our results suggest that FY981 FeLV uses FLVCR1, FLVCR2, and THTR1 as receptors. Our findings suggest the possibility that pathogenic FeLV-C arises in FeLV-infected cats through intermediates that are multitropic in their receptor use.
Project description:Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) induces neoplastic and nonneoplastic diseases in cats. The transduction of cellular genes by FeLV is sometimes observed and associated with neoplastic diseases including lymphoma and sarcoma. Here, we report the first natural case of feline Notch2 transduction by FeLV in an infected cat with multicentric lymphoma and hypercalcemia. We cloned recombinant FeLVs harboring Notch2 in the env gene. Notch2 was able to activate expression of a reporter gene, similar to what was previously reported in cats with experimental FeLV-induced thymic lymphoma. Our findings suggest that the transduction of Notch2 strongly correlates with FeLV-induced lymphoma.
Project description:It is generally accepted that all primary isolates of feline leukemia virus (FeLV) contain a subgroup A virus (FeLV-A) that is essential for transmission. In contrast, FeLV-B is thought to arise de novo in the infected animal through RNA recombination events with endogenous FeLV transcripts, presumably through copackaging of RNA from endogenous FeLV and exogenous FeLV-A. Here, we report the complete genome sequences of two novel strains of FeLV-B (FeLV-2518 and FeLV-4314) that were isolated in the absence of FeLV-A. The env genes of these isolates have been characterized previously, and the 3' recombination sites have been identified. We describe herein the 5' recombination breakpoints of each virus. These breakpoints were found to be within the signal peptide of the env gene and the reverse transcriptase-coding region, respectively. This is the first report of a recombination site within the pol gene of an FeLV-B genome and the first genetic characterization of multiple independently arising FeLV-B isolates that have been identified without a functional FeLV-A ancestral virus.
Project description:The aim of this report was to investigate whether the diagnosis of feline leukemia virus (FeLV) infection by serology might be feasible and useful. Among the various viral proteins, the FeLV env-gene product (SU) and the envelope transmembrane protein p15E were considered promising candidates for the serological diagnosis of FeLV infection. Thus, we evaluated p15E and three other FeLV antigens, namely, a recombinant env-gene product, whole FeLV, and a short peptide from the FeLV transmembrane protein, for their potential to detect FeLV infection. To evaluate possible exposure of cats to FeLV, we tested serum and plasma samples from experimentally and naturally infected and vaccinated cats for the presence of antibodies to these antigens by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs). The serological results were compared with the p27 and proviral real-time PCR results. We found that p15E displayed a diagnostic sensitivity of 95.7% and a specificity of 100% in experimentally infected cats. In naturally infected cats, p15E showed a diagnostic sensitivity of 77.1% and a specificity of 85.6%. Vaccinated cats displayed minimal antibody levels to p15E, suggesting that anti-p15E antibodies indicate infection rather than vaccination. The other antigens turned out to be too unspecific. The lower specificity in cats exposed to FeLV under field conditions may be explained by the fact that some cats become infected and seroconvert in the absence of detectable viral nucleic acids in plasma. We conclude that p15E serology may become a valuable tool for diagnosing FeLV infection; in some cases, it may replace PCR.
Project description:The host defense against viral infection is acquired during the coevolution or symbiosis of the host and pathogen. Several cellular factors that restrict retroviral infection have been identified in the hosts. Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) is a gammaretrovirus that is classified into several receptor interference groups, including a novel FeLV-subgroup D (FeLV-D) that we recently identified. FeLV-D is generated by transduction of the env gene of feline endogenous gammaretrovirus of the domestic cat (ERV-DCs) into FeLV. Some ERV-DCs are replication competent viruses which are present and hereditary in cats. We report here the determination of new viral receptor interference groups and the discovery of a soluble antiretroviral factor, termed Refrex-1. Detailed analysis of FeLV-D strains and ERV-DCs showed two receptor interference groups that are distinct from other FeLV subgroups, and Refrex-1 specifically inhibited one of them. Refrex-1 is characterized as a truncated envelope protein of ERV-DC and includes the N-terminal region of surface unit, which is a putative receptor-binding domain, but lacks the transmembrane region. Refrex-1 is efficiently secreted from the cells and appears to cause receptor interference extracellularly. Two variants of Refrex-1 encoded by provirus loci, ERV-DC7 and DC16, are expressed in a broad range of feline tissues. The host retains Refrex-1 as an antiretroviral factor, which may potentially prevent reemergence of the ERVs and the emergence of novel ERV-related viruses in cats. Refrex-1 may have been acquired during endogenization of ERV-DCs and may play an important role in retroviral restriction and antiviral defense in cats.