Jaagsiekte sheep retrovirus and enzootic nasal tumor virus promoters drive gene expression in all airway epithelial cells of mice but only induce tumors in the alveolar region of the lungs.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Journal of virology, Volume 85, Issue 15, p.7535-45 (2011)


2011, Antibody Development Core Facility, Center-Authored Paper, Comparative Medicine Core Facility, Human Biology Division, September 2011, Shared Resources


Jaagsiekte sheep retrovirus (JSRV) induces tumors in the distal airways of sheep and goats, while the closely related enzootic nasal tumor virus type 1 (ENTV-1) and ENTV-2 induce tumors in the nasal epithelium of sheep and goats, respectively. When expressed using a strong Rous sarcoma virus promoter, the envelope proteins of these viruses induce tumors in the respiratory tract of mice, but only in the distal airway. To examine the role of the retroviral long terminal repeat (LTR) promoters in determining tissue tropism, adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors expressing alkaline phosphatase under the control of the JSRV, ENTV-1, or ENTV-2 LTRs were generated and administered to mice. The JSRV LTR was active in all airway epithelial cells, while the ENTV LTRs were active in the nasal epithelium and alveolar type II cells but poorly active in tracheal and bronchial epithelial cells. When vectors were administered systemically, the ENTV-1 and -2 LTRs were inactive in major organs examined, whereas the JSRV showed high-level activity in the liver. When a putative transcriptional enhancer from the 3' end of the env gene was inserted upstream of the JSRV and ENTV-1 LTRs in the AAV vectors, a dramatic increase in transgene expression was observed. However, intranasal administration of AAV vectors containing any combination of ENTV or JSRV LTRs and Env proteins induced tumors only in the lower airway. Our results indicate that mice do not provide an adequate model for nasal tumor induction by ENTV despite our ability to express genes in the nasal epithelium.