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Viruses. 2011 Jun;3(6):620-8. doi: 10.3390/v3060620. Epub 2011 Jun 1.

Characterization of a full-length endogenous beta-retrovirus, EqERV-beta1, in the genome of the horse (Equus caballus).

Author information

  • Laboratory of Experimental Virology, Department of Medical Microbiology, Centre for Infection and Immunity Amsterdam, Academic Medical Centre of the University of Amsterdam, Meibergdreef 15, 1105 AZ Amsterdam, The Netherlands. a.c.vanderkuyl@amc.uva.nl

Abstract

Information on endogenous retroviruses fixed in the horse (Equus caballus) genome is scarce. The recent availability of a draft sequence of the horse genome enables the detection of such integrated viruses by similarity search. Using translated nucleotide fragments from gamma-, beta-, and delta-retroviral genera for initial searches, a full-length beta-retrovirus genome was retrieved from a horse chromosome 5 contig. The provirus, tentatively named EqERV-beta1 (for the first equine endogenous beta-retrovirus), was 10434 nucleotide (nt) in length with the usual retroviral genome structure of 5'LTR-gag-pro-pol-env-3'LTR. The LTRs were 1361 nt long, and differed approximately 1% from each other, suggestive of a relatively recent integration. Coding sequences for gag, pro and pol were present in three different reading-frames, as common for beta-retroviruses, and the reading frames were completely open, except that the env gene was interrupted by a single stopcodon. No reading frame was apparent downstream of the env gene, suggesting that EqERV-beta1 does not encode a superantigen like mouse mammary tumor virus (MMTV). A second proviral genome of EqERV-beta1, with no stopcodon in env, is additionally integrated on chromosome 5 downstream of the first virus. Single EqERV-beta1 LTRs were abundantly present on all chromosomes except chromosome 24. Phylogenetically, EqERV-beta1 most closely resembles an unclassified retroviral sequence from cattle (Bos taurus), and the murine beta-retrovirus MMTV.

KEYWORDS:

Equus caballus; beta-retrovirus; endogenous virus; full-length; horse

PMID:
21994749
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3185775
Free PMC Article

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