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ZASC1 knockout mice exhibit an early bone marrow-specific defect in murine leukemia virus replication

Shannon Seidel12, James Bruce34, Mathias Leblanc5, Kuo-Fen Lee6, Hung Fan7, Paul Ahlquist348 and John AT Young1*

Author Affiliations

1 Nomis Center for Immunobiology and Microbial Pathogenesis, The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, CA, USA

2 Division of Biology, University of California San Diego, San Diego, CA, USA

3 Institute for Molecular Virology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, USA

4 Morgridge Institute for Research, Madison, WI, USA

5 The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, CA, USA

6 Clayton Foundation Laboratories for Peptide Biology, The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, CA, USA

7 Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, University of California Irvine, Irvine, CA, USA

8 Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, USA

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Virology Journal 2013, 10:130  doi:10.1186/1743-422X-10-130

Published: 24 April 2013



ZASC1 is a zinc finger-containing transcription factor that was previously shown to bind to specific DNA binding sites in the Moloney murine leukemia virus (Mo-MuLV) promoter and is required for efficient viral mRNA transcription (J. Virol. 84:7473-7483, 2010).


To determine whether this cellular factor influences Mo-MuLV replication and viral disease pathogenesis in vivo, we generated a ZASC1 knockout mouse model and completed both early infection and long term disease pathogenesis studies.


Mice lacking ZASC1 were born at the expected Mendelian ratio and showed no obvious physical or behavioral defects. Analysis of bone marrow samples revealed a specific increase in a common myeloid progenitor cell population in ZASC1-deficient mice, a result that is of considerable interest because osteoclasts derived from the myeloid lineage are among the first bone marrow cells infected by Mo-MuLV (J. Virol. 73: 1617-1623, 1999). Indeed, Mo-MuLV infection of neonatal mice revealed that ZASC1 is required for efficient early virus replication in the bone marrow, but not in the thymus or spleen. However, the absence of ZASC1 did not influence the timing of subsequent tumor progression or the types of tumors resulting from virus infection.


These studies have revealed that ZASC1 is important for myeloid cell differentiation in the bone marrow compartment and that this cellular factor is required for efficient Mo-MuLV replication in this tissue at an early time point post-infection.

ZASC1; Retrovirus; Murine leukemia virus; Host cell factors; Mouse model