Co-option of an endogenous retrovirus envelope for host defense in hominid ancestors

Blanco-Melo, D., Gifford, R. J. and Bieniasz, P. D. (2017) Co-option of an endogenous retrovirus envelope for host defense in hominid ancestors. eLife, 6, e22519. (doi:10.7554/eLife.22519) (PMID:28397686) (PMCID:PMC5388530)

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Abstract

Endogenous retroviral sequences provide a molecular fossil record of ancient infections whose analysis might illuminate mechanisms of viral extinction. A close relative of gammaretroviruses, HERV-T, circulated in primates for ~25 million years (MY) before apparent extinction within the past ~8 MY. Construction of a near-complete catalog of HERV-T fossils in primate genomes allowed us to estimate a ~32 MY old ancestral sequence and reconstruct a functional envelope protein (ancHTenv) that could support infection of a pseudotyped modern gammaretrovirus. Using ancHTenv, we identify monocarboxylate transporter-1 (MCT-1) as a receptor used by HERV-T for attachment and infection. A single HERV-T provirus in hominid genomes includes an env gene (hsaHTenv) that has been uniquely preserved. This apparently exapted HERV-T env could not support virion infection but could block ancHTenv mediated infection, by causing MCT-1 depletion from cell surfaces. Thus, hsaHTenv may have contributed to HERV-T extinction, and could also potentially regulate cellular metabolism.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Gifford, Dr Robert
Authors: Blanco-Melo, D., Gifford, R. J., and Bieniasz, P. D.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Infection Immunity and Inflammation
Journal Name:eLife
Publisher:eLife Sciences Publications
ISSN:2045-5267
ISSN (Online):2050-084X
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2017 Blanco-Melo et al.
First Published:First published in eLife 6: e22519
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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