This study describes the biological properties of a strain of virus isolated from tissues of a goat with leukoencephalomyelitis-arthritis. The agent is a retrovirus, having a virion-associated reverse transcriptase enzyme and an antigenic determinant(s) which cross-reacts with the p30 of visna-maedi viruses. Morphogenesis of the virus is also similar to visna virus in terms of virus assembly and the multinucleated giant cell formation which accompanies replication of the latter virus. Despite its cytopathogenic property the goat agent was not lytic in goat cell culture, causing instead a productive infection which persisted through multiple subcultures of the cells. The virus replicated incompletely in sheep cell cultures but could be rescued from the latter, weeks after inoculation, by co-cultivation with goat cells. Our data suggest that this strain of goat leukoencephalitis virus is a variant of the ovine retroviruses with a host range limited to the goat.


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