, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 58-68

Superantigenic characteristics of mouse mammary tumor viruses play a critical role in susceptibility to infection in mice

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Mouse mammary tumor viruses (MMTV) are retroviruses that induce mammary carcinomas. An interesting feature of these viruses is the superantigen (SAg) encoded in an open reading frame within the 3′ long terminal repeat. The mechanism by which ingestion of milk-borne virus results in infection of the host mammary tissue remains incompletely understood. However, a working model has been proposed in which the interaction between viral SAg, T-cell receptor and MHC class II I-E facilitates viral replication and hence infectivity. In this review we summarize current studies demonstrating the role of SAg stimulation in susceptibility to MMTV infection.