Letter | Published:

Target cell for oncogenic action of polycythaemia-inducing Friend virus

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Abstract

ONCORNAVIRUSES carry information for two distinct functions: virus multiplication and expression of oncogenicity1,2. The polycythaemia-inducing Friend virus (FVP) (as the Rauscher leukemia virus) infects and replicates in many types of cells cultured in vitro but as yet, no system for both infection in vitro and subsequent expression of oncongenic function has been described3,4. Morphological transformation of unidentified target cells occurs in vivo after infection of susceptible mice by FVP5. Transformation is characterised by the rapid and massive appearance of hyperbasophilic cells, so called Friend cells, only in the spleen red pulp, about 30–40 h after virus inoculation. Thereafter, an erythrocytic maturation starts and proceeds without influence of endogenous or exogenous erythropoietin, the physiological humoral factor for normal erythropoietic differentiation. The number of hyperbasophilic Friend cells and erythroblasts increases; these cells invade the organism and the animal dies 1–2 months after infection.

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