Murine acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (MAIDS) can be viewed as a lymphoproliferative disease which involves B cells as well as T cells from spleen and lymph nodes while thymus and Peyer's patches do not participate in the process. The 120-kDa protooncogene product c-Cbl was initially cloned from the murine Cas NS-1 B cell lymphoma. It is a main target of immunoreceptor (TCR and BCR)-mediated protein tyrosine kinase activity. Moreover, recent data suggest that c-Cbl might play a crucial role in the regulation of cell proliferation through regulation of GTP-binding proteins. Therefore, the involvement of c-Cbl was evaluated in the lymphoproliferative disease induced by the MAIDS virus. The expression of the c-Cbl protein was dramatically reduced in the lymph node of infected mice while it remained normal in the thymus. In contrast, the expression of actin, TCR-ζ chain, ZAP-70, and p59(fyn) remained similar in controls and infected mice. Identical results were obtained with sorted B cells and T cells. Surprisingly, a B cell lymphoma line derived from late stage MAIDS mice displayed a normal level of c-Cbl.
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