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Molecular cloning of Snyder-Theilen feline leukemia and sarcoma viruses: comparative studies of feline sarcoma virus with its natural helper virus and with Moloney murine sarcoma virus.

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Extrachromosomal DNA obtained from mink cells acutely infected with the Snyder-Theilen (ST) strain of feline sarcoma virus (feline leukemia virus) [FeSV(FeLV)] was fractionated electrophoretically, and samples enriched for FeLV and FeSV linear intermediates were digested with EcoRI and cloned in lambda phage. Hybrid phages were isolated containing either FeSV or FeLV DNA "inserts" and were characterized by restriction enzyme analysis, R-looping with purified 26 to 32S viral RNA, and heteroduplex formation. The recombinant phages (designated lambda FeSV and lambda FeLV) contain all of the genetic information represented in FeSV and FeLV RNA genomes but lack one extended terminally redundant sequence of 750 bases which appears once at each end of parental linear DNA intermediates. Restriction enzyme and heteroduplex analyses confirmed that sequences unique to FeSV (src sequences) are located at the center of the FeSV genome and are approximately 1.5 kilobase pairs in length. With respect to the 5'-3' orientation of genes in viral RNA, the order of genes in the FeSV genome is 5'-gag-src-env-c region-3'; only 0.9 kilobase pairs of gag and 0.6 kilobase pairs of env-derived FeLV sequences are represented in ST FeSV. Heteroduplex analyses between lambda FeSV or lambda FeLV DNA and Moloney murine sarcoma virus DNA (strain m1) were performed under conditions of reduced stringency to demonstrate limited regions of base pair homology. Two such regions were identified: the first occurs at the extreme 5' end of the leukemia and both sarcoma viral genomes, whereas the second corresponds to a 5' segment of leukemia virus "env" sequences conserved in both sarcoma viruses. The latter sequences are localized at the 3' end of FeSV src and at the 5' end of murine sarcoma virus src and could possibly correspond to regions of helper virus genomes that are required for retroviral transforming functions.

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