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W20-029: Probing Modulation of FeLV Integration Sites into the Cat Genome Using Epigenetic Modulators

Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) causes serious diseases in domestic and wild cats worldwide. Approximately 33% of cats exposed to FeLV become persistently viremic with subsequent development of fatal FeLV-associated diseases, including immunodeficiencies and cancers. There currently is no definitive treatment for FeLV, and while existing vaccines reduce the number of persistent infections in cats, they do not prevent milder infections that result in virus reservoirs with potential for conversion to infectious virus production and transmission. The long-term goal of our research is to identify safe, effective treatment strategies for eliminating persistent FeLV infections. We have recently shown that a class of small molecule drugs that decrease mouse leukemia virus infection, also show potential in reducing FeLV load in cell culture studies. As a next step, look specifically at how these drugs alter sites of FeLV insertion and the resultant changes in gene expression of FeLV-infected cells. Results from this study will facilitate future development of effective treatment strategies for eliminating and preventing persistent FeLV infections.

Grant ID: W20-029

Status: Active

Year Funded: 2020

Amount awarded: $25,000

Investigator: Dr. Cheryl Swenson Kruger and Dr. Vilma Yuzbasiyan-Gurkan