Leukemias can be induced in W/Fu inbred rats by neonatal inoculation of normal thymus cells of C58 mice. These leukemias are not transplantable to C58 mice or to adult W/Fu rats, but they can be kept in passage in W/Fu rats aged 0 to 7 days. Adult W/Fu rats inoculated repeatedly with these isogenic leukemias produce cytotoxic and precipitating antibodies. These antisera are of particular value in the analysis of the antigens of leukemia cells and of leukemia viruses because their mode of preparation precludes the formation of antibody against any normal constituents of the cell.
Analysis based on the cytotoxic test indicates the presence of 2 distinct cell surface antigens in leukemias induced by Passage A Gross virus or occurring spontaneously in mice of high-incidence strains. All leukemias and other tissues known to contain G (Gross) leukemia antigen have both determinants, but certain leukemias of low-incidence strains have only 1 of them and so were previously classified G-.
Immunoprecipitation with these antisera reveals the presence of a cellular antigen common to G+ cells and absent from G- cells; the same antigen can be demonstrated in ether-treated Gross virus, but not in intact virus. This antigen is present also in ether-treated preparations of the Friend, Moloney, and Rauscher leukemia viruses, but not in Bittner (mammary tumor) virus. Thus it may be regarded as a group-specific antigen of murine leukemia viruses, in contrast to the type-specific cellular antigens demonstrable by the cytotoxic test. Four additional antigens associated with leukemias induced by wild-type Gross virus have been demonstrated by immunoprecipitation, but their relation to viral and cellular antigens has not been determined.