Extensive fusion occurs upon cocultivation of murine fibroblasts producing ecotropic murine leukemia viruses (MuLVs) with a large variety of murine cell lines in the presence of the polyene antibiotic amphotericin B, the active component of the antifungal agent Fungizone. The resulting polykaryocytes contain nuclei from both infected and uninfected cells, as evidenced by autoradiographic labeling experiments in which one or the other parent cell type was separately labeled with [3H]thymidine and fused with an unlabeled parent. This cell fusion specifically requires the presence of an ecotropic MuLV-producing parent and is not observed for cells producing xenotropic, amphotropic, or dualtropic viruses. Mouse cells infected with nonecotropic viruses retain their sensitivity toward fusion, whereas infection with ecotropic viruses abrogates the fusion of these cells upon cocultivation with other ecotropic MuLV-producing cells. Nonmurine cells lacking the ecotropic gp70 receptor are not fused under similar conditions. Fusion is effectively inhibited by monospecific antisera to gp70, but not by antisera to p15(E), and studies with monoclonal antibodies identify distinct amino- and carboxy-terminal gp70 regions which play a role in the fusion reaction. The enhanced fusion which occurs in the presence of amphotericin B provides a rapid and sensitive assay for the expression of ectropic MuLVs and should facilitate further mechanistic studies of MuLV-induced fusion of murine cells.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Insect Science