Caprine arthritis encephalitis virus (CAEV) is an exogenous, nononcogenic retrovirus which causes neurological disease and crippling arthritis in goats. A complete CAEV genome was cloned from unintegrated viral DNA in two fragments of 9.4 and 0.4 kilobases in length, respectively. The biological activity of these clones was tested by ligation of the fragments followed by transfection onto goat synovial membrane cells; infectious virus was recovered. Cloned CAEV and visna virus, a related neurotropic virus of sheep, were compared by heteroduplex and molecular hybridization analyses. These data demonstrated that the greatest overall conservation of nucleotide sequences occurred in the gag and pol gene regions and two smaller regions, sor and the putative tat gene. The region of greatest divergence occurred in the env gene and, in particular, was localized primarily in the region coding for the gylcosylated outer membrane protein. These finding and the recently demonstrated genetic relationship of visna virus, CAEV, and human T-cell lymphotropic virus type III, the etiologic agent of the acquired immune deficiency syndrome, may have important implications concerning the biological properties of these related viruses for human and veterinary medicine.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science