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Endogenous retoviruses - (Apr/12/2007 )

Hi guys,

Does anybody know if there is any conservation in the functions of endogenous retroviruses between human and mouse.
I mean if you find that an endogenous retrovirus has a specific function in mouse, could you expect to find an ortholog in human with the same funciton or regulation?
I think not because retroviruses are randomly inserted in the genome and i would expect that they have a specific function in different species, depending on the genomic location where they are inserted. So you cannot infer information in their function by studying their homologs between species.
Do you agree to that?

Does anybody has an idea on this topic?



Hi Piki,

Here is a case where endogenous retroviruses performing similar functions are found in several species.

From the paper:
Dunlap KA, Palmarini M, Varela M, Burghardt RC, Hayashi K, Farmer JL, Spencer TE. Endogenous retroviruses regulate periimplantation placental growth and differentiation. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2006 Sep 26;103(39):14390-5. Epub 2006 Sep 15.

From the abstract:
"Circumstantial evidence suggests that ERVs play a role in mammalian reproduction, particularly placental morphogenesis, because intact ERV envelope genes were found to be expressed in the syncytiotrophoblasts of human and mouse placenta and to elicit fusion of cells in vitro."

I wonder whether this is the specific paper which led you to your question ... it seems a good fit.

Best regards,

- Jon

-Jon Moulton-