The subgroup A through E avian sarcoma and leukosis viruses (ASLV(A) through ASLV(E)) are a group of highly related alpharetroviruses that have evolved their envelope glycoproteins to use different receptors to enable efficient virus entry due to host resistance and/or to expand host range. Previously, we demonstrated that ASLV(A) in the presence of a competitor to the subgroup A Tva receptor, SUA-rIgG immunoadhesin, evolved to use other receptor options. The selected mutant virus, RCASBP(A)Δ155–160, modestly expanded its use of the Tvb and Tvc receptors and possibly other cell surface proteins while maintaining the binding affinity to Tva. In this study, we further evolved the Δ155–160 virus with the genetic selection pressure of a soluble form of the Tva receptor that should force the loss of Tva binding affinity in the presence of the Δ155–160 mutation. Viable ASLVs were selected that acquired additional mutations in the Δ155–160 Env hypervariable regions that significantly broadened receptor usage to include Tvb and Tvc as well as retaining the use of Tva as a receptor determined by receptor interference assays. A similar deletion in the hr1 hypervariable region of the subgroup C ASLV glycoproteins evolved to broaden receptor usage when selected on Tvc-negative cells.
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