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J Virol. 2003 Apr;77(7):4423-30.

Latency of viral expression in vivo is not related to CpG methylation in the U3 region and part of the R region of the long terminal repeat of bovine leukemia virus.

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  • 1Retrovirus Research Unit, RIKEN, Wako, Saitama 351-0198, Japan.


Bovine leukemia virus (BLV) is silent in most cells detectable in vivo, and the repression of its expression allows BLV to evade the host's immune response. In this study, we examined whether CpG methylation of DNA might be involved in the regulation of the expression of BLV in vivo. To investigate the effects of CpG methylation on the activity of the long terminal repeat (LTR) of BLV, we measured the transactivation activity of this region after treatment with the CpG methyltransferase SssI by using a luciferase reporter system. The activity of methylated LTR was significantly lower than that of nonmethylated LTR. Therefore, we examined the extent of CpG methylation of the U3 region and part of the R region of the LTR in BLV-infected cattle and in experimentally BLV-infected sheep at various clinical stages by the bisulfite genomic sequencing method. We detected no or minimal CpG methylation at all stages examined in cattle and sheep, and our results indicate that CpG methylation probably does not participate in the silencing of BLV in vivo.

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