Expression of the jaagsiekte sheep retrovirus envelope glycoprotein is sufficient to induce lung tumors in sheep.
ABSTRACT Jaagsiekte sheep retrovirus (JSRV) is the causative agent of ovine pulmonary adenocarcinoma (OPA). The expression of the JSRV envelope (Env) alone is sufficient to transform a variety of cell lines in vitro and induce lung cancer in immunodeficient mice. In order to determine the role of the JSRV Env in OPA tumorigenesis in sheep, we derived a JSRV replication-defective virus (JS-RD) which expresses env under the control of its own long terminal repeat (LTR). JS-RD was produced by transiently transfecting 293T cells with a two plasmid system, involving (i) a packaging plasmid, with the putative JSRV packaging signal deleted, expressing the structural and enzymatic proteins Gag, Pro, and Pol, and (ii) a plasmid which expresses env in trans for JS-RD particles and provides the genomes necessary to deliver JSRV env upon infection. During the optimization of the JS-RD system we determined that both R-U5 (in the viral 5' LTR) and the env region are important for JSRV particle production. Two independent experimental transmission studies were carried out with newborn lambs. Four of five lambs inoculated with JS-RD showed OPA lesions in the lungs at various times between 4 and 12 months postinoculation. Abundant expression of JSRV Env was detected in tumor cells of JS-RD-infected animals and PCR assays confirmed the presence of the deleted JS-RD genome. These data strongly suggest that the JSRV Env functions as a dominant oncoprotein in the natural immunocompetent host and that JSRV can induce OPA in the absence of viral spread.
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ABSTRACT: The phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase-regulated protein kinase, Akt, plays an important role in the initiation and progression of human cancer. Mammalian cells express three Akt isoforms (Akt1-3), which are encoded by distinct genes. Despite sharing a high degree of amino acid identity, phenotypes observed in knockout mice suggest that Akt isoforms are not functionally redundant. The relative contributions of the different Akt isoforms to oncogenesis, and the effect of their deficiencies on tumor development, are not well understood. Here we demonstrate that Akt isoforms have non-overlapping and sometimes opposing functions in tumor initiation and progression using a viral oncogene-induced mouse model of lung cancer and Akt isoform-specific knockout mice. Akt1 ablation significantly delays initiation of lung tumor growth, whereas Akt2 deficiency dramatically accelerates tumorigenesis in this mouse model. Ablation of Akt3 had a small, not statistically significant, stimulatory effect on tumor induction and growth by the viral oncogene. Terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick end labeling and Ki67 immunostaining of lung tissue sections revealed that the delayed tumor induction in Akt1-/- mice was due to the inhibitory effects of Akt1 ablation on cell growth and survival. Conversely, the accelerated growth rate of lung tumors in Akt2-/- and Akt3-/- mice was due to increased cell proliferation and reduced tumor cell apoptosis. Investigation of Akt signaling in tumors from Akt knockout mice revealed that the lack of Akt1 interrupted the propagation of signaling in tumors to the critical downstream targets, GSK-3α/β and mTOR. These results demonstrate that the degree of functional redundancy between Akt isoforms in the context of lung tumor initiation is minimal. Given that this mouse model exhibits considerable similarities to human lung cancer, these findings have important implications for the design and use of Akt inhibitors for the treatment of lung cancer.PLoS ONE 04/2014; 9(4):e94595. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0094595 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Animal models of human disease are important tools in many areas of biomedicine; for example, in infectious disease research and in the development of novel drugs and medical devices. Most studies involving animals use rodents, in particular congenic mice, due to the availability of a wide number of strains and the ease with which they can be genetically manipulated. The use of mouse models has led to major advances in many fields of research, in particular in immunology but despite these advances, no animal model can exactly reproduce all the features of human disease. It is increasingly becoming recognised that in many circumstances mice do not provide the best model and that alternative species may be more appropriate. Here, we describe the relative merits of sheep as biomedical models for human physiology and disease in comparison to mice, with a particular focus on reproductive and respiratory pathogens.Molecular Immunology 09/2014; 66(1). DOI:10.1016/j.molimm.2014.09.002 · 3.00 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Sheep betaretroviruses represent a fascinating model to study the complex evolutionary interplay between host and pathogen in natural settings. In infected sheep, the exogenous and pathogenic Jaagsiekte sheep retrovirus (JSRV) coexists with a variety of highly related endogenous JSRVs, referred to as enJSRVs. During evolution, some of them were co-opted by the host as they fulfilled important biological functions, including placental development and protection against related exogenous retroviruses. In particular, two enJSRV loci, enJS56A1 and enJSRV-20, were positively selected during sheep domestication due to their ability to interfere with the replication of related competent retroviruses. Interestingly, viruses escaping these transdominant enJSRVs have recently emerged, probably less than 200 years ago. Overall, these findings suggest that in sheep the process of endogenization is still ongoing and, therefore, the evolutionary interplay between endogenous and exogenous sheep betaretroviruses and their host has not yet reached an equilibrium.Viruses 12/2014; 6(12):4926-4945. DOI:10.3390/v6124926 · 3.28 Impact Factor