Natural history of the ERVWE1 endogenous retroviral locusReport as inadecuate

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, 2:57

First Online: 22 September 2005Received: 21 July 2005Accepted: 22 September 2005


BackgroundThe human HERV-W multicopy family includes a unique proviral locus, termed ERVWE1, whose full-length envelope ORF was preserved through evolution by the action of a selective pressure. The encoded Env protein Syncytin is involved in hominoid placental physiology.

ResultsIn order to infer the natural history of this domestication process, a comparative genomic analysis of the human 7q21.2 syntenic regions in eutherians was performed. In primates, this region was progressively colonized by LTR-elements, leading to two different evolutionary pathways in Cercopithecidae and Hominidae, a genetic drift versus a domestication, respectively.

ConclusionThe preservation in Hominoids of a genomic structure consisting in the juxtaposition of a retrotransposon-derived MaLR LTR and the ERVWE1 provirus suggests a functional link between both elements.

List of AbbreviationsHERVhuman endogenous retrovirus

ORFopen reading frame

LTRlong terminal repeat

MaLRmammalian apparent LTR-retrotransposon

SINEshort interspersed element

LINElong interspersed element

LD-PCRlong distance PCR

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-1742-4690-2-57 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Author: Bertrand Bonnaud - Jean Beliaeff - Olivier Bouton - Guy Oriol - Laurent Duret - François Mallet


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