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Developmnental expression of HERV-R (ERV3) and HERV-K in human tissue
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Pathology.
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2002 (English)In: Virology, ISSN 0042-6822, E-ISSN 1096-0341, Vol. 297, no 2, 220-225 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs), ERV3 (HERV-R) and HERV-K, are both known to be transcriptionally active in human placenta. In the case of ERV3 there is also indirect evidence for its participation in cellular differentiation. In this study we examined the expression of ERV3 (HERV-R) and HERV-K in human normal fetal tissues by in situ hybridization. The highest level of ERV3 env expression was detected in primitive adrenal cortex. Elevated levels of expression were also found in the following developing tissues: kidneys (tubules), tongue, heart, liver, and central nervous system. Tissue-specific expression was found for HERV-K rec (former cORF) but not for pol/int transcripts. The highest rec expression was found in placenta and levels slightly higher than sense control were found in the rest of the tissues examined. Pol/Int was not possible to quantitate. It appears that ERV3 is expressed in an organ-specific way during embryogenesis and might suggest a possible role in the development and differentiation of human tissues.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2002. Vol. 297, no 2, 220-225 p.
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-89899DOI: 10.1006/viro.2002.1428PubMedID: 12083821OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-89899DiVA: diva2:161742
Available from: 2002-05-10 Created: 2002-05-10 Last updated: 2013-05-31Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Studies on Human Endogenous Retroviruses (HERVs) with Special Focus on ERV3
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Studies on Human Endogenous Retroviruses (HERVs) with Special Focus on ERV3
2002 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs) represent approximately 7% of the human genome. This investigation was focused on one particular HERV, ERV3, with the main purpose of characterising its gene expression patterns and genomic distribution of ERV3-like sequences. Furthermore, this careful expression study should provide insights into the biological role of HERVs. The impact of HERVs in health and disease is not yet clarified. ERV3 is expressed as three envelope (env) transcripts, of which two also contain a cellular gene, H-plk (human proviral linked Krüppel). ERV3 env expression was mainly investigated at the RNA level. The gene expression of two other HERVs, HERV-K and HERV-E was analysed and compared with ERV3 activity.

Real-time PCRs were developed and in combination with in situ hybridisation, it was found that ERV3 is expressed in a tissue- and cell-specific way. High levels of ERV3 mRNA (up to six times over Histone3.3) were demonstrated in placenta, sebaceous glands, foetal and adult adrenal glands, brown adipose tissue, corpus luteum, pituitary gland, thymus and testis. In monocytic cells including both normal monocytes and malignant U-937 cells, elevated mRNA levels were observed after retinoic acid (RA)-induced differentiation. ERV3-encoded Env protein was detected in selected cases, one following RA-treatment. In addition, several new ERV3-like sequences were discovered in the human genome.

ERV3 was found to have conserved open reading frames in contrast to other ERV3-like sequences in the human genome. This suggests that ERV3 may be involved in important cellular processes such as differentiation, cell fusion, immunomodulation and protection against infectious retroviruses. The developed techniques and obtained results will allow further studies of HERV expression to better correlate HERV activity to both normal development and disease.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2002. 61 p.
Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Medicine, ISSN 0282-7476 ; 1165
Genetics, human endogenous retroviruses, HERV, ERV3, expression, in situ hybridisation, real-time PCR, U-937, retinoic acid., Genetik
National Category
Medical Genetics
Research subject
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-2097 (URN)91-554-5342-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2002-06-01, Rudbecksalen, Uppsala, 09:15
Available from: 2002-05-10 Created: 2002-05-10Bibliographically approved

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