Threshold number of provirus copies required per cell for efficient virus production and interference in moloney murine leukemia virus-infected NIH 3T3 cells

J Virol. 1998 Jul;72(7):5414-24. doi: 10.1128/JVI.72.7.5414-5424.1998.


The gag-pol readthrough mutant of Moloney murine leukemia virus, MLV-B(CAG) (T. Odawara, H. Yoshikura, M. Oshima, T. Tanaka, D. S. Jones, F. Nemoto, Y. Kuchino, and A. Iwamoto, J. Virol. 65:6376-6379, 1991), was poorly complemented by a mutant encoding only Gag. This is because with all the genetic elements necessary for env expression present in MLV-B(CAG), insufficient Env protein was produced by the cells expressing MLV-B(CAG) for efficient virus production. Since the env mRNA expression per provirus in the MLV-B(CAG)- and wild-type-MLV-producing cells were the same and since the cells expressing the former contained eightfold fewer proviral copies, the insufficient Env expression by the former was found to be due to insufficient proviral copies in the cells. Examination of the cell clones having various proviral copies of Deltawt MLV (M. Oshima, T. Odawara, T. Matano, H. Sakahira, Y. Kuchino, A. Iwamoto, and H. Yoshikura, J. Virol. 70:2286-2295, 1996) showed that mRNA level was proportional to the number of proviral copies while interference and virus production followed a sigmoid curve with a sharp rise at the threshold number of proviral copies of around four per cell. Multicycle infection probably continues until the threshold level of proviral copies is attained in natural infection too.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 3T3 Cells
  • Animals
  • Gene Dosage*
  • Gene Products, env / physiology
  • Gene Products, gag / physiology
  • Mice
  • Moloney murine leukemia virus / physiology*
  • Proviruses / genetics
  • Proviruses / physiology*
  • RNA, Viral / analysis
  • Viral Interference*
  • Virus Replication*


  • Gene Products, env
  • Gene Products, gag
  • RNA, Viral