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Mol Cells. 2012 Jun;33(6):539-44. doi: 10.1007/s10059-012-0037-y. Epub 2012 May 4.

Genomic impact, chromosomal distribution and transcriptional regulation of HERV elements.

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  • 1Department of Biological Sciences, College of Natural Sciences, Pusan National University, Busan 609-735, Korea. khs307@pusan.ac.kr

Abstract

Human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs) mediate structural variation and genomic instability based on their multiple copy number, inherent ability to mobilize via reverse transcriptase, and high sequence similarity. Moreover, they undergo multiple amplification and retrotransposition events, resulting in the widespread distribution of complete or partial retroviral sequences throughout the primate genome. As such, HERV elements have played important biological roles in genome evolution, and their long terminal repeat (LTR) elements contain numerous regulatory sequences, including effective promoters, enhancers, polyadenylation signals, and transcription factorbinding sites. Lastly, HERV elements are capable of influencing the expression of neighboring genes, a process that also contributed to primate evolution.

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