We have directly tested the hypothesis that single-stranded cytoplasmic A particle-associated DNA (ss CAP DNA) is a murine mammary tumour virus (MMTV) proviral intermediate by hybridizing I-labelled ss CAP DNA to MMTV RNA or to MMTV complementary DNA (cDNA). I-labelled CAP DNA did not form duplexes with either MMTV RNA or MMTV cDNA. In contrast, CAP RNA hybridized readily with MMTV cDNA. CAP RNA contained all the MMTV virus sequences, but at lower concentrations than in MMTV virus particles.

Single-stranded CAP DNA hybridized readily with mouse DNA from several sources. A study of the rate of hybridization of CAP DNA to cell DNA at various driver to probe ratios showed that its rate of hybridization is similar to that of tumour cell DNA reassociation. Further, in reassociation studies accelerated by using the phenol emulsion reassociation technique (PERT), CAP DNA originally isolated as single-stranded DNA was shown to reanneal (70%), to protect I-cell DNA to the same extent (67%) and to do so with kinetics of reassociation equivalent to that of mouse DNA. Although CAP DNA isolates were slightly enriched for MMTV specific sequences when compared to total cellular DNA, we conclude that the majority of ss CAP-associated DNA is equivalent to a random sample of total tumour cell DNA.


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