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BMC Evolutionary Biology

, 1:3

First Online: 10 August 2001Received: 11 June 2001Accepted: 10 August 2001

Abstract

BackgroundThe genome of invertebrates is rich in retroelements which are structurally reminiscent of the retroviruses of vertebrates. Those containing three open reading frames ORFs, including an env-like gene, may well be considered as endogenous retroviruses. Further support to this similarity has been provided by the ability of the env-like gene of DmeGypV the Gypsy endogenous retrovirus of Drosophila melanogaster to promote infection of Drosophila cells by a pseudotyped vertebrate retrovirus vector.

ResultsTo gain insights into their evolutionary story, a sample of thirteen insect endogenous retroviruses, which represents the largest sample analysed until now, was studied by computer-assisted comparison of the translated products of their gag, pol and env genes, as well as their LTR structural features. We found that the three phylogenetic trees based respectively on Gag, Pol and Env common motifs are congruent, which suggest a monophyletic origin for these elements.

ConclusionsWe showed that most of the insect endogenous retroviruses belong to a major clade group which can be further divided into two main subgroups which also differ by the sequence of their primer binding sites PBS. We propose to name IERV-K and IERV-S these two major subgroups of I nsect E ndogenous R etro V iruses or I nsect ER rantiV irus, according to the ICTV nomenclature which respectively use Lys and Ser tRNAs to prime reverse transcription.

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-1471-2148-1-3 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Author: Christophe Terzian - Alain Pélisson - Alain Bucheton

Source: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/1471-2148-1-3







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