ts1 is a temperature-sensitive mutant of Moloney murine leukemia virus that induces a rapid spongiform encephalopathy in mice infected as newborns. The pathological features include the formation of ubiquitinated inclusions resembling Lewy bodies. To determine how perturbation of the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway might affect ts1-mediated neurodegeneration, the virus was introduced into transgenic mice in which the assembly of ubiquitin chains was compromised by the expression of dominant-negative mutant ubiquitin. The onset of symptoms was greatly delayed in a transgenic mouse line expressing K48R mutant ubiquitin; no such delay was observed in mice expressing a wild-type ubiquitin transgene or K63R mutant ubiquitin. The extended latency was found to correlate with a delayed increase in viral titers. Pathological findings in K48R transgenic mice at 60 days were found to be similar to those in the other strains at 30 days, suggesting that while delayed, the neurodegenerative process in K48R mice was otherwise similar. These data demonstrate the sensitivity of retroviral replication to the partial disruption of ubiquitin-mediated proteolysis in vivo, a finding that may have therapeutic potential.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Insect Science