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The mechanism of BLV-induced tumorigenesis has not been clear up to now. Changes of viral protein expression in infected cells may be involved in the molecular events leading to BLV-induced leukaemogenesis. In this study Western blot investigations of cells transfected with plasmid DNA containing the complete Japanese BLV tumour clone provirus demonstrate that this provirus is unable to express gag and env proteins. Following this an attempt was made to express the genes from this provirus in eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells using the phagemid pBK-RSV (Stratagene), but not as fusion proteins. The protein patterns expressed from the 5' and the 3' region of the BLV genome were compared with those of FLK/BLV cells. The results indicate that there is a defect in this provirus located in the genome region between the gag and env gene.