Differential Expression of an Endogenous Retrovirus in MAIDS Susceptible (C57BL/6) Versus Resistant (BALB/c) Mice



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Murine acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (MAIDS) is a retrovirus-induced disease in mice that results from infection with a specific mixture of Murine Leukemia Virus (MuLV) known as LP-BM5. The two strains of mice used in this research are either the disease susceptible strain (C57BL/6 or BL/6) or the disease resistant strain (BALB/c). The Tepsuporn thesis in the Stranford lab at Mount Holyoke College generated differential gene expression data from a DNA-microarray based assay of MAIDS susceptible versus resistant mice that were either injected with virus or mock supernatant. One gene in particular, mink cell focus-forming virus (MCF), had a 55-fold higher expression in disease susceptible mice when compared to resistant mice under any conditions. MCF is a component of LP-BM5 MuLV and was originally used to track virus expression in host cells. The objective of this research is to utilize Reverse-Transcriptase PCR and Real-Time RT-PCR to determine whether or not MCF is found in the genome of mice and expressed as mRNA. Data shows that both BL/6 and BALB/c mice, when naïve from injection with virus or mock supernatant, expressed MCF mRNA in both the spleen and the lymph node and contained MCF in their genomes. Real time RT-PCR data analysis suggests that naïve mice express higher levels of MCF-like mRNA in the BL/6 mice when compared to the BALB/c mice; this information contradicts the microarray data. It is possible that prior to infection with virus or mock supernatant, MCF-like sequences are suppressed in BALB/c mice and upregulated in BL/6 mice. Future studies of MCF and its implications disease pathogenesis may lead to a better understanding of the immune response to HIV and discover new factors that contribute to human susceptibility to AIDS.