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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Human Endogenous Retrovirus (HERV)-R family in primates: Chromosomal location, gene expression, and evolution.

Hitherto, full-length endogenous retrovirus (HERV)-R has been located at human chromosome 7q11.2, and mRNA and envelope proteins have been detected in placenta and a variety of other cell types. In the present study, using a probe derived from the gorilla fosmid library, we detected the paralogous locus (7q31.3) of the HERV-R env gene in human chromosome 7q11.2, and also determined the chromosomal location in apes and Old World monkeys. The HERV-R gene was not detected in New World monkeys or prosimians with FISH and PCR analyses. We determined the sequences of the HERV-R env genes obtained from the genomic DNA of primates using PCR and sequencing tools. Except for a HERV-R env sequence derived from gorilla DNA, the functional domains of putative envelope proteins are conserved, suggesting that those domains could have a functional capacity in the primate genome. In addition, we investigated the env gene expression of HERV-R in various human tissues and cancer cells. An RT-PCR approach indicated that the env gene was expressed in several human tissues (brain, prostate, testis, kidney, placenta, thymus, and uterus) and cancer cells (RT4, BT-474, MCF7, OVCAR-3, LOX-IMVI, and AZ521). Taken together, our data could be of great use for understanding the evolutionary dynamics of HERV-R through primate radiation as well as the implications of its functional role in human tissues and cancers cells.[1]


  1. Human Endogenous Retrovirus (HERV)-R family in primates: Chromosomal location, gene expression, and evolution. Kim, H.S., Yi, J.M., Hirai, H., Huh, J.W., Jeong, M.S., Jang, S.B., Kim, C.G., Saitou, N., Hyun, B.H., Lee, W.H. Gene (2006) [Pubmed]
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