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Mech Ageing Dev. 1989 Oct;50(1):27-36.

Endogenous virus genomes become hypomethylated tissue--specifically during aging process of C57BL mice.

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Radiation Biology Center, Kyoto University, Japan.


In an attempt to find out a cause for age-dependent derepression of endogenous viruses, extents of DNA methylation at the endogenous B- and C-type ecotropic viruses in brain, liver and spleen of C57BL/6NJc1 were examined at three ages, newborn, young adult and old. Both endogenous viruses showed a slight but significant tissue-specific either hypo- or hypermethylation during post-natal developmental phase in the three tissues. After maturation, however, no such change was detectable at most of the sites examined. The exceptions were C-type ecotropic virus in brain and B-type virus in spleen, where the age-dependent decreases of methylation were observed. The changes seemed to be continuations of preceding developmental hypomethylation. They indicated that the hypomethylation could be one of the causes for the age-dependent derepression of endogenous virus. It was further suggested that a mechanism to stop the developmental changes of DNA methylation at the maturation of individuals would be important in considering the reasons for the changes in senescent phase.

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