Mouse mammary tumor viruses expressed by RIII/Sa mice with a high incidence of mammary tumors interact with the Vβ-2- and Vβ-8-specific T cells during viral infection

Taher Uz-Zaman, Leszek Ignatowicz, Nurul H. Sarkar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations


The mouse mammary tumor viruses (MMTVs) that induce mammary adenocarcinomas in mice are transmitted from mother to offspring through milk. MMTV infection results in the deletion of specific T cells as a consequence of interaction between the MMTV-encoded superantigen (Sag) and specific Vβ chains of the T cell receptor. The specificity and kinetics of T cell deletion for a number of highly oncogenic MMTVs, such as C3H- and GR-MMTVs, have been studied in great detail. Some work has also been done with the MMTVs expressed in two substrains of RIII mice, BR6 and RIIIS/J, but the nature of the interaction between T cells and the virus(es) that the parental RIII-strain of mice express has not been investigated. Since RIII mice (designated henceforth as RIII/Sa) have a very high incidence (90-98%) of mammary tumors, and they have been extensively used in studies of the biology of mammary tumor development, we have presently determined the pattern of Vβ-T cell deletion caused by RIII/Sa-MMTV-Sag(s) during viral infection. T cells were isolated from lymph nodes and thymus of young RIII/Sa mice, as well as from BALB/c (BALB/cfRIII/Sa), C57BL (C57BLfRIII/Sa), and RIIIS/J (RIIIS/JfRIII/Sa) mice after they were infected with RIII/Sa-MMTV(s) by foster nursing. The composition of the T cells was analyzed by FACS using a panel of monoclonal antibodies specific to a variety of Vβs. Our results show that milk-borne RIII/Sa-MMTV(s) infection leads to the deletion of CD4+ Vβ-2, and to a lesser extent Vβ-8 bearing peripheral and central T cells in RIII/Sa, RIIIS/J, BALB/c, and C57BL mice. Our results are in contrast to the findings that C3H-, GR-, and BR6-MMTVs delete Vβ-14- and/or Vβ-15-specific T cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)294-304
Number of pages11
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 15 2003



  • Clonal T cell deletion
  • Mouse mammary tumor virus
  • RIII/Sa mouse
  • Vβ genes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology

Cite this