The newly identified retrovirus - the xenotropic MuLV-related virus XMRV - has recently been shown to be strongly associated with familial prostate cancer in humans.
While that study showed evidence of XMRV infection exclusively in the prostatic stromal fibroblasts, a recent study found XMRV protein antigens mainly in malignant prostate epithelial cells.
To help understand the mechanisms behind XMRV infection, we show that prostatic fibroblast cells express Xpr1, a known receptor of XMRV, but its expression is absent in other cell lines of the prostate (i.e., epithelial and stromal smooth muscle cells).
We also show that certain amino acid residues located within the predicted extracellular loop (ECL3 and ECL4) sequences of Xpr1 are required for efficient XMRV entry.
While we found strong evidence to support XMRV infection of prostatic fibroblast cell lines via Xpr1, we learned that XMRV was indeed capable of infecting cells that did not necessarily express Xpr1, such as those of the prostatic epithelial and smooth muscle origins.
Further studies suggest that the expression of Xpr1 and certain genotypes of the RNASEL gene, which could restrict XMRV infection, may play important roles in defining XMRV tropisms in certain cell types. [Note: “Tropisms” are cells or tissues that support growth of a particular virus.]
Collectively, our data reveal important cellular determinants required for XMRV entry into different human prostate cells in vitro, which may provide important insights into the possible role of XMRV as an etiologic agent in human prostate cancer.
Source: Journal of Virology, Apr 21, 2010. PMID: 20410264, by Bhosle S, Suppiah S, Molinaro R, Liang Y, Arnold R, Diehl W, Makarova N, Blackwell J, Petros J, Liotta D, Hunter E, Ly H. Departments of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Urology, Medicine, and Chemistry, Emory Vaccine Center, Emory University, Atlanta; The Atlanta VA Medical Center, Decatur, Georgia, USA. [Email: email@example.com]