A murine recombinant retrovirus containing the src oncogene transforms erythroid precursor cells in vitro

S. M. Anderson, S. P. Klinken, W. D. Hankins

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12 Scopus citations


A murine retrovirus (MRSV) containing the src gene of Rous sarcoma virus has been shown to cause an erythroproliferative disease in mice (S.M. Anderson and E.M. Scolnick, J. Virol. 46:594-605, 1983). We now demonstrate that this same virus can transform erythroid progenitor cells in vitro. Infection of fetal liver cells or spleen and bone marrow cells from phenylhydrazine-treated adult mice gave rise to colonies of erythroid cells which grew in methylcellulose under conditions not favorable for the growth of normal erythroid cells. The presence of pp60(src) in the transformed erythroid cells was demonstrated by an immune complex protein kinase assay. The time course of appearance and subsequent differentiation of erythroid colonies indicated that the target cell for MRSV was a 6- to 8-day burst-forming unit. Differentiation of the erythroid progenitors was not blocked by the presence of pp60(src), and the cells retained sensitivity to the hormone erythropoietin. In fact, the transformed cells exhibited increased hormone sensitivity since the number, the size, and the extent of hemoglobinization of the colonies were all increased by the addition of small amounts of erythropoietin. MRSV was not susceptible to restriction by the Fv-2 locus, as MRSV could transform hematopoietic cells from C57BL/6 mice. These results indicate that (i) the erythroid proliferation observed in vivo is caused by a direct effect of MRSV on erythroid progenitors and (ii) the transformed erythroid precursors acquire a growth advantage over uninfected cells without losing the ability to differentiate and respond to physiologic regulators.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3369-3375
Number of pages7
JournalMolecular and Cellular Biology
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1985
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Genetics
  • Molecular Biology


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