Superantigen-induced immune stimulation amplifies mouse mammary tumor virus infection and allows virus transmission

Cell. 1993 Aug 13;74(3):529-40. doi: 10.1016/0092-8674(93)80054-i.


Endogenous and infectious mouse mammary tumor viruses (MMTVs) encode in their 3' long terminal repeat a protein that exerts superantigen activity; that is, it is able to interact with T cells via the variable domain of the T cell receptor (TCR) beta chain. We show here that transmission of an infectious MMTV is prevented when superantigen-reactive cells are absent through either clonal deletion due to the expression of an endogenous MTV with identical superantigen specificity or exclusion due to expression of a transgenic TCR beta chain that does not interact with the viral superantigen. A strict requirement for superantigen-reactive T cells is also seen for a local immune response following MMTV infection. This immune response locally amplifies the number of MMTV-infected B cells, most likely owing to their clonal expansion. Collectively, our data indicate that a superantigen-induced immune response is critical for the MMTV life cycle.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, Viral / biosynthesis
  • Antigens, Viral / immunology*
  • Antigens, Viral / metabolism
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Base Sequence
  • DNA, Viral / genetics
  • DNA, Viral / isolation & purification
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Lymph Nodes / microbiology
  • Mammary Neoplasms, Experimental / immunology
  • Mammary Neoplasms, Experimental / microbiology*
  • Mammary Tumor Virus, Mouse / genetics
  • Mammary Tumor Virus, Mouse / immunology
  • Mammary Tumor Virus, Mouse / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Oligodeoxyribonucleotides
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta / metabolism*
  • Repetitive Sequences, Nucleic Acid
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology


  • Antigens, Viral
  • DNA, Viral
  • Oligodeoxyribonucleotides
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta