Avian erythroblastosis virus (AEV) is a replication-defective retrovirus that transforms erythroid and fibroblast cells in vitro and in vivo. The transforming ability of AEV is due primarily to the oncogene v-erb-B. A recombinant murine retrovirus has been constructed by inserting a chimeric gag-v-erb-B gene into a Moloney murine leukemia virus based vector. This retrovirus was used to examine v-erb-B-induced transformation of murine hematopoietic cells. Infection of murine primary fetal liver, adult bone marrow or adult spleen cells with the recombinant virus generated large hemoglobinized erythroid colonies in the absence of exogenous growth factors. Generation of such colonies usually requires the presence of erythropoietin (Epo) and interleukin-3 (IL-3). These growth-factor independent colonies were shown to be derived from early (BFU-E) and not late (CFU-E) erythroid progenitor cells, and the effect was not attributable to growth factors elicited by the virus-producing cell lines. In order to confirm that the recombinant virus was responsible for this transformation of BFU-E to growth factor independence, bone marrow cells from post 5-fluorouracil treated mice were infected and used to repopulate lethally-irradiated mice. Growth factor-independent BFU-E were obtained in up to 30% of day-13 spleen colonies and it was shown by DNA analysis that cells from these colonies contained integrated provirus. Our results indicate that v-erb-B transforms early erythroid progenitors to growth factor independent growth and subsequent differentiation to erythrocytes - a process that normally requires Epo plus either IL-3 or granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF).
|Number of pages||7|
|Publication status||Published - 1990|