A genomic DNA library was constructed, in a bacteriophage λ vector, from line 0 chick embryo fibroblasts (CEFs) infected with HPRS-103, an exogenous avian leukosis virus (ALV; envelope subgroup J) recently isolated from meat-type chickens. The library was screened at high stringency using a full length RAV-1 (subgroup A) proviral probe. From 10 plaques, two clones which hybridized strongly to the RAV-1 probe were isolated; one contained a full-length copy of the proviral genome of HPRS-103 and the other contained a copy lacking the 5′-long terminal repeat (LTR) and part of . The relative strength of hybridization of RAV-1 and HPRS-103 clones, to RAV-1 probes representing different parts of the proviral genome, indicated that the and genes of HPRS-103 share a high level of identity with those of RAV-1 but that the gene and the LTRs are considerably less well conserved. Infectious virus was recovered from CEFs transfected with the full-length clone, as detected by ELISA. The recovered virus appeared to be identical to HPRS-103 by electron microscopy and by Southern blotting of proviral DNA. The recovered virus was shown to be of the same subgroup as HPRS-103 by serum neutralization and receptor interference assays. Sequence analysis of the gene of HPRS-103 shows that it differs considerably from the genes of other ALV subgroups, particularly in the host range determinants, consistent with the finding that HPRS-103 represents a new subgroup (designated J).


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