The first oncogenic virus to be discovered. It is an RNA virus that induces tumors in chickens. The RSV was one of the first retroviruses shown to produce a reverse transcriptase (q.v.). The genes gag, pol, and env, which characterize all retroviruses, were first identified in this virus. The RSV genome also contains src, an oncogene, so named because it induces sa rcomas. The src gene codes for a protein kinase, pp60v-src (q.v.), which is localized in the plasmalemma. Vertebrate cells contain a gene homologous to the src gene. To distinguish the two, the viral gene is abbreviated v-src and the cellular gene c-src. The two genes differ in that v-src has an uninterrupted coding sequence, whereas c-src contains seven exons separated by six introns. The c-src gene is a proto-oncogene (q.v.). See Chronology, 1910, Rous; 1970, Temin and Mizutani; 1975, Wang et al.; 1978, Collett and Erickson; 1981, Parker, Varmus, and Bishop; 1989, Bishop and Varmus; oncogene hypothesis, retroviruses.
Subjects: Genetics and Genomics.