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Virology. 2006 Mar 15;346(2):373-8. Epub 2005 Dec 7.

Functional human endogenous retroviral LTR transcription start sites are located between the R and U5 regions.

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1
Shemyakin-Ovchinnikov Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry, 16/10 Miklukho-Maklaya, Moscow 117997, Russia.

Abstract

Human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs) occupy about 5% of human DNA and are thought to be remnants of ancient retroviral infections of human ancestors' germ cells. HERVs can modify expression of host cell genes through their cis-regulatory elements concentrated in their long terminal repeats (LTRs). Although numerous HERV-related RNAs were identified in the human transcriptome, for most of them, it remains unclear whether they are LTR-promoted or read-through products initiated from neighboring genomic promoters. Here, we describe mapping of transcriptional start sites within solitary and proviral LTRs of the HERV-K (HML-2) human-specific subfamily of endogenous retroviruses. Surprisingly, the transcription was initiated predominantly from the very 3' termini of the LTR R regions. The data presented here may shed light on adaptive coevolution of human endogenous retroviruses with their host cells.

PMID:
16337666
DOI:
10.1016/j.virol.2005.11.007
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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