1887

Abstract

The majority of human endogenous retroviral HERV-H elements in the human genome have large deletions in and lack most of , 5–10% are more or less complete with a potentially immunosuppressive transmembrane protein-encoding region. Spliced HERV-H transcripts were detected in T-cell leukaemia cell lines and lymphocytes from healthy blood donors by using RT-PCR. The transcripts all contained a splice donor in the leader region downstream from the primer-binding site and a previously unreported splice acceptor in the integrase-encoding region of , absent in the HERV-H deletion elements. In singly spliced transcripts the leader and integrase regions were joined directly whereas in multiply spliced transcripts they were joined with an alternative exon from the protease-encoding region located between the two regions. transcripts from three different HERV-H elements were identified: one element similar to a HERV-H consensus sequence was primarily amplified from the T-cell leukaemia cell lines and two other more defective elements were amplified from normal lymphocytes. One of these elements was shown to be a reintegrated spliced transcript where the protease and integrase regions were joined, removing most of but leaving intact. Other spliced transcripts, joining the protease region and the 3′-LTR, were also amplified. The fact that HERV-H elements with an intact splice acceptor also use the splice sites in the protease-encoding region suggests that this unusual multiple splice pattern could have a biological function in the intact HERV-H.

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1997-10-01
2022-05-23
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