Rate of divergence of cellular sequences homologous to segments of Moloney sarcoma virus

A. E. Frankel, P. J. Fischinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


The RNA genome of the Moloney isolate of murine sarcoma virus (M MSV) consists of two parts - a sarcoma specific region with no homology to known leukemia viral RNAs, and a shared region present also in Moloney murine leukemia virus RNA. Complementary DNA was isolated which was specific for each part of the M MSV genome. The DNA of a number of mammalian species was examined for the presence of nucleotide sequences homologous with the two M MSV regions. Both sets of viral sequences had homologous nucleotide sequences present in normal mouse cellular DNA. MSV specific sequences found in mouse cellular DNA closely matched those nucleotide sequences found in M MSV as seen by comparisons of thermal denaturation profiles. In all normal mouse cells tested, the cellular set of M MSV specific nucleotide sequences was present in DNA as one to a few copies per cell. The rate of base substitution of M MSV nucleotide sequences was compared with the rate of evolution of both unique sequences and the hemoglobin gene of various species. Conservation of MSV specific nucleotide sequences among species was similar to that of mouse globin gene(s) and greater than that of average unique cellular sequences. In contrast, cellular nucleotide sequences that are homologous to the M MSV murine leukemia virus 'common' nucleotide region were present in multiple copies in mouse cells and were less well matched, as seen by reduced melting profiles of the hybrids. The cellular common nucleotide sequences diverged very rapidly during evolution, with a base substitution rate similar to that reported for some primate and avian endogenous virogenes. The observation that two sets of covalently linked viral sequences evolved at very different rates suggest that the origin of M MSV may be different from endogenous helper viruses and that cellular sequences homologous to MSV specific nucleotide sequences may be important to survival.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)153-160
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1977

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology


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