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Radiat Res. 2012 Nov;178(5):379-84. doi: 10.1667/RR2888.1. Epub 2012 Sep 24.

Radiation-induced human endogenous retrovirus (HERV)-R env gene expression by epigenetic control.

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Department of Biological Sciences, College of Natural Sciences, Pusan National University, Busan 609-735, Republic of Korea.


It is commonly accepted that ionizing radiation induces genomic instability by changes in genomic structure, epigenetic regulation and gene expression. Human endogenous retroviruses (HERV)-R also are often differentially expressed between normal and disease tissues under unstable genomic conditions and are implicated in the pathogenesis of several human diseases. To understand the influence of ionizing radiation on HERV-R expression, we performed quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) analyses using γ-irradiated normal human cells. Compared to nonirradiated cells, HERV-R expression was up-regulated in γ-irradiated cells. The regulatory mechanism of HERV-R expression in irradiated cells was investigated by methylation analyses of HERV-R 5'LTRs and treatment with garcinol. These data indicated that the up-regulated transcription of HERV-R may be regulated by radiation-induced epigenetic changes induced by histone modification, and thus could be of great importance for understanding the relationship between radiation-induced biological effects and transposable elements.

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