The ~30-million-year-old ERVPb1 envelope gene is evolutionarily conserved among hominoids and Old World monkeys

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  • Bioinformatics Research Centre (BiRC)
  • Enhed for Bioinformatik
  • Department of Molecular Biology
  • Interdisciplinary Nanoscience Center
Most human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs) are ancient and their genes are rendered nonfunctional by debilitating mutations. One exception is a recently discovered envelope gene located on chromosome 14. This envelope protein was also recently shown to be expressed in various human tissues and to mediate cell-cell fusion ex vivo. In this study, we demonstrate that this locus (designated ERVPb1) is preserved in Old World monkeys and that the reading frame is maintained. This is congruent with the entry of the HERV-P(b) group between 27 and 36 million years ago as suggested by long terminal repeat divergence. Although the coding capacity is generally lost in the HERV-IP supergroup, the analysis of nucleotide substitutions, lack of stop codons, and single-nucleotide polymorephisms strongly indicates a selective advantage of the ERVPb1 envelope genes during primate evolution. The purifying selection and tissue-specific expression of the human ERVPb1 envelope gene provide strong evidence of a beneficial role for the host.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)685-691
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2005

    Research areas

  • Animals, Base Sequence, Catarrhini, Chromosomes, Human, Pair 14, DNA Primers, Endogenous Retroviruses, Evolution, Molecular, Gene Components, Humans, Likelihood Functions, Models, Genetic, Molecular Sequence Data, Phylogeny, Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide, Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction, Selection, Genetic, Sequence Analysis, DNA, Sequence Homology, Species Specificity, Terminal Repeat Sequences, Viral Envelope Proteins

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