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Virology. 1989 Nov;173(1):157-66.

Structural and functional characterization of the unusually short long terminal repeats and their adjacent regions of a novel endogenous avian retrovirus.

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Institute of Human Genetics, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis 55455.


We have cloned the long terminal repeats and their flanking regions from four different proviruses belonging to a large, highly conserved, novel family of avian endogenous retroviruses. This family, termed the endogenous avian retrovirus (EAV) family, is distinct from the previously characterized avian endogenous and exogenous retroviruses. We have analyzed the sequences of the long terminal repeats and their adjacent noncoding viral sequences, including the gag leader region and the 3' noncoding region, of several different members of the EAV family and have found that the regulatory region of these novel viruses contains several unique features. The LTRs of the EAV proviruses are extremely short (243 bp long) but contain all of the essential regulatory features of longer avian retrovirus LTRs. The gag leader region and the 3' noncoding region of the novel EAVs are only weakly related to those of other avian retroviruses. Northern blot hybridization analysis of RNA from Line-0 chicken embryos reveals several transcripts derived from the EAV proviruses. Primer extension analysis indicates that all transcripts initiated from 5' proviral LTRs are initiated at the predicted +1 position within the EAV LTRs. The relative shortness, sequence divergence from other known LTRs, and the retention of the transcriptional integrity of the EAV LTRs make these LTRs an interesting model system for LTR function and for study of the potential involvement of such highly conserved retroviral elements in development.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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