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Mol Cell Biol. 2008 Mar;28(6):2059-65. doi: 10.1128/MCB.01362-07. Epub 2008 Jan 14.

macroH2A1-dependent silencing of endogenous murine leukemia viruses.

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Department of Animal Biology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


We show that macroH2A1 histone variants are important for repressing the expression of endogenous murine leukemia viruses (MLVs) in mouse liver. Intact MLV proviruses and proviruses with deletions in env were nearly silent in normal mouse liver and showed substantial derepression in macroH2A1 knockout liver. In contrast, MLV proviruses with a deletion in the 5' end of pro-pol were expressed in normal liver and showed relatively low levels of derepression in knockout liver. macroH2A1 nucleosomes were enriched on endogenous MLVs, with the highest enrichment occurring on the 5' end of pro-pol. The absence of macroH2A1 also led to a localized loss of DNA methylation on the 5' ends of MLV proviruses. These results demonstrate that macroH2A1 histones have a significant role in silencing endogenous MLVs in vivo and suggest that specific internal MLV sequences are targeted by a macroH2A1-dependent silencing mechanism.

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