Sperm-associated retroviruses in the mouse epididymis

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1987 Dec;84(23):8667-71. doi: 10.1073/pnas.84.23.8667.


Sperm adsorbed with retrovirus particles were recovered from the epididymis of apparently normal male mice. Epididymal semen from all four mouse strains examined was positive for retrovirus (10(5) to 10(8) particles per microgram of protein) indicating that epididymal fluids and sperm may be important vehicles for murine retrovirus spread. Immunoblot analyses revealed that the banding patterns of electrophoretically separated epididymal viral proteins from the four strains of males were more similar to each other than to either xenotropic New Zealand Black virus or ecotropic Rauscher leukemia virus proteins. The results indicate that retrovirus particles, possibly a unique strain, are commonly expressed at relatively high titers in the reproductive tract of male mice and are sperm-associated.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, Viral / analysis
  • Epididymis / microbiology*
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Retroviridae / analysis*
  • Retroviridae / immunology
  • Retroviridae Infections / transmission*
  • Spermatozoa / microbiology*
  • Spermatozoa / ultrastructure
  • Viral Proteins / analysis
  • Viral Proteins / immunology


  • Antigens, Viral
  • Viral Proteins