The major antigens of a mouse mammary tumour virus (MMTV) isolated from the milk of exogenously infected MB Swiss mice were compared with the viral components of other MMTV strains by using the methodology developed by Teramoto (1977). The anti-gp47 (Swiss) serum differentiated between type- and group-specific antigenic determinants on the major glycoprotein; two distinct type-reactivities were demonstrated, one of them being shared by the MMTVs (Swiss) and (RIII), and the other by the MMTVs (C3H) and (GR). The MMTVs (Swiss) and (RIII) also reacted identically in a ‘type-specific’ assay using an anti-p28 (Swiss) serum, but a distinct reactivity was observed with the MMTV (C3H). In the isologous test where an anti-(total RIII) serum was used to bind intact, externally labelled RIII virions, the Swiss virus was seen to possess a type-specific determinant on its surface which distinguished itself from both MMTVs (RIII) and (C3H). The Swiss/fC57BL mice (which are devoid of the milk virus and for this reason are referred to as MB), expressed only the internal virus antigens in their mammary glands. Under the ‘type-specific’ assay conditions, the p28 antigen present in the mammary gland extracts of the MB mice was indistinguishable from the p28 antigen purified from the Swiss virion, but was clearly distinct from the p28 reactivity present in the mammary gland extracts of the MB mice. The p28 (MB) antigen may thus represent the expression of an endogenous virus sequence different from the milk virus genome.


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