A highly conserved sequence upstream of the transcriptional enhancer in the U3 of murine leukemia viruses (MLVs) was reported to mediate negative regulation of their expression. In transient expression studies, negative regulation was reported to be conferred by coexpression of the transcription factor YY1, which binds to a motif in the upstream conserved region (UCR). To address the function of the UCR and its YY1-motif in an in vivo model of MLV-host interactions we introduced six consecutive triple basepair mutations into this region of the potent T-lymphomagenic SL3-3 MLV. We report that all mutants have retained their replication competence and that they all, like the SL3-3 wild type (wt), induce T-cell lymphomas when injected into newborn mice of the SWR strain. However, all mutants induced disease with slightly shorter latency periods than the wt SL3-3, suggesting that the YY1 motif as well as its immediate context in the UCR have a negative effect on the pathogenicity of the virus. This result may have implications for the design of retroviral vectors.
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|Published - 2003