Genetic analysis of the effects of Mtv-2 on the T cell repertoire in the WXG-2 mouse strain

David A. Ferrick, Kiho Cho, Lorraine Gemmell-hori, David W. Morris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


In this report, the T cell repertoire was studied In a natural genetic model system using a novel mouse strain (WXG-2) carrying a single pathogenic mouse mammary tumor virus (MMTV) provirus (Mtv-2) on an otherwise MMTV-free genetic background. The Mtv-2 provirus has complete biological activity, produces infectious mllk-transmltted virus, and contributes to mammary carclnogenesis by an insertion mutation mechanism. In mice carrying the Mtv-2 provirus, T cells expressing Vβ14 were specifically deleted in mice with a functional MHC class II I-E gene but not in I-E- controls. The deletion of Vβ14+ T cells was more rapid in mice with the Mtv-2 provirus than in Mtv-2-free control mice infected with exogenous MMTV. In addition, the Mtv-2 deletion phenotype was age dependent. A slow depletion of Vβ14+ T cells was observed, and >95% of the Vβ14+ T cells were eliminated by 6 months of age. These experiments Indicate that (i) the Mtv-2 provirus encodes or regulates expression of a Vβ14-specific superantigen, (ii) interactions between Mtv-2 and other MMTV proviruses are not necessary for the Vβ14 deletion phenotype, (ill) the presence of a retroviral superantigen in all cells is not sufficient for T cell depletion during neonatal development in the thymus, and (iv) the Mtv-2 provirus and Its associated exogenous provirus have the same Vβ specificity. The biological implications of this viral function are presently unknown; however, it is clear that MMTV can have profound effects on the immune system and these effects may ultimately prove to be involved in viral pathogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)805-810
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Immunology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1992


  • Class II MHC
  • Mls
  • Mouse mammary tumor virus
  • Superantigen
  • T cell receptor
  • Tolerance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics, Probability and Uncertainty
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Transplantation
  • Immunology


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