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J Virol. 2009 Jul;83(14):6995-7003. doi: 10.1128/JVI.00268-09. Epub 2009 Apr 29.

Fibrils of prostatic acid phosphatase fragments boost infections with XMRV (xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus), a human retrovirus associated with prostate cancer.

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Department of Cancer Biology, Lerner Research Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio 44195, USA.


The xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus (XMRV) has recently been detected in prostate cancer tissues and may play a role in tumorigenesis. It is currently unclear how this virus is transmitted and which factors promote its spread in the prostate. We show that amyloidogenic fragments known as semen-derived enhancer of virus infection (SEVI) originating from prostatic acid phosphatase greatly increase XMRV infections of primary prostatic epithelial and stromal cells. Hybrid simian/human immunodeficiency chimeric virus particles pseudotyped with XMRV envelope protein were used to demonstrate that the enhancing effect of SEVI, or of human semen itself, was at the level of viral attachment and entry. SEVI enhanced XMRV infectivity but did not bypass the requirement for the xenotropic and polytropic retrovirus receptor 1. Furthermore, XMRV RNA was detected in prostatic secretions of some men with prostate cancer. The fact that the precursor of SEVI is produced in abundance by the prostate indicates that XMRV replication occurs in an environment that provides a natural enhancer of viral infection, and this may play a role in the spread of this virus in the human population.

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