The presence of a C-type virus in tissues of an embryonic rhabdomyosarcoma of a corn snake was previously described, based upon electron microscopic observations. A virus, corn snake retrovirus (CSRV) has been recovered from the tumour tissue by inoculation of a tissue homogenate on to either the rattlesnake fibroma cell line or early passage cells derived from rattlesnake heart or kidney. Attempts to cultivate the virus in other reptilian cell systems were unsuccessful. The virus was classified as a retrovirus on the basis of electron microscopic observations of fine structure and morphogenesis, and the demonstration of virion-associated reverse transcriptase and a buoyant density of 1.16. Polypeptide analysis of CSRV performed by polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis revealed the presence of five major polypeptides: three had mobility analogous to that of structural polypeptides of viper retrovirus (VRV) but two polypeptides, one of mol. wt. approx. 16000 and a glycoprotein of mol. wt. approx. 72000, were unique. Antigenic comparison of CSRV and VRV by agar gel immunodiffusion revealed that CSRV possesses a major antigenic determinant which is different to that of VRV. CSRV propagated in rattlesnake fibroma cells was demonstrated to be slowly cytopathic for rattlesnake heart and kidney cells .


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