We have shown previously that approximately 20% of the Mason-Pfizer virus (MPV) genome is present as endogenous provirus in rhesus monkeys. We report here that several full-term rhesus placentas examined contain additional MPV proviral sequences in their DNA. Competitive molecular hybridization experiments demonstrated that some of these placentas also contain RNA complementary to the entire MPV 60 to 70S RNA genome. Examination of internal organs of rhesus monkeys captured in the wild also revealed the presence of additional MPV proviral sequences and expression of MPV RNA in some tissues. These results provide further evidence that MPV is being transmitted via a non-germ line mechanism in the rhesus population and now demonstrate the placenta as a good source for the identification of retrovirus transcriptional products and proviral DNA.
This work was supported in part by Contract N01-CP-43223 from the Virus Cancer Program of the National Cancer Institute.