Date Approved


Date Posted


Degree Type

Open Access Senior Honors Thesis

Department or School


First Advisor

Heather Holmes, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Hedeel Evans, Ph.D.


Felines are susceptible to many different viruses throughout their lifetime, one being Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV). FeLV is a transmittable RNA retrovirus that inhabits the cells of feline species' immune systems leading to possible infections and diseases such as seizures and other neurological disorders, anemia, stomatitis, enteritis, and lymphoma. There are four different types of this virus, FeLV-A, FeLV-B, FeLV-C, or FeLV-T, that enter cells via different cellular receptors causing different symptoms. FeLV-A is horizontally transmittable, and all FeLV-positive cats carry this form. Of the subtypes, FeLV-B is the most common, being found in approximately 50% of all cases, most often in cats with tumors and other abnormal tissue growths. The aim of this research was to determine the proviral sequences of FeLV-B in multiple tissue samples collected from a FeLV positive cat. Genomic DNA from multiple tissue samples of a naturally infected cat with FeLV-B was extracted and digested with a set of restriction enzymes. Adapters were ligated to known sequences using genome walking and PCR was used to amplify fragments containing proviral FeLV. Samples were sent for sequencing, and the results used to design new primers for further work. It was hypothesized that of the six tissue samples, the tumor samples would show mutations and/or rearrangements not observed in other tissues. FeLV-B was confirmed in five of the six tissue samples extracted. When comparing known FeLV-A and -B sequences, the samples tissues were more closely related to the known FeLV-B. Variations in the tumor samples were observed in the nucleotide sequences and when these variations were altered, mutations within the amino acid sequences were observed.