Early syncytium formation by bovine leukemia virus

D. C. Graves, L. V. Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Bovine leukemia virus (BLV) from either persistently infected bat cells or fetal lamb kidney cells induced rapid syncytium formation in F81 indicator cells. Distinct syncytia were seen within 2 h after inoculation of cells with highly concentrated (500-fold) cell-free BLV preparations and within 4 to 8 h when unconcentrated cell-free BLV preparations were used. Indicator cell densities of 1 x 105 to 2 x 105 were optimal for rapid and maximal syncytium formation. Pretreatment of BLV with reference BLV leukemic serum and antiserum prepared against purified BLV significantly inhibited (95%) syncytium formation. Reference bovine viral diarrhea virus serum, foamy-like bovine syncytial virus serum, and control serum had litle effect (17% inhibition). Antiserum to BLV gp51 inhibited syncytium formation by greater than 96%, whereas antiserum to BLV p24 reduced syncytium activity to a much lesser extent (38% inhibition). Treatment of BLV with β-propiolactone (0.005 to 0.05%) had little or no effect upon syncytium-forming activity, whereas UV irradiation (15 ergs/mm2 per s for 30 min) reduced, but did not completely destroy, the fusion activity. However, both β-propiolactone and UV irradiation drastically reduced the replication potential of BLV, as demonstrated by the lack of p24 expression in the inoculated cells. Concentrations of cycloheximide, cytosine arabinoside, tunicamycin, and 2-deoxy-d-glucose which effectively blocked cellular macromolecular synthesis did not significantly inhibit syncytium formation. These latter results suggested that de novo protein and DNA synthesis as well as protein glycosylation were not required for early syncytium formation. Thus, these experiments demonstrated that replication of BLV by the indicator cells was not essential for cell fusion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1055-1063
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1981
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology


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