Physiological Knockout of the Envelope Gene of the Single-Copy ERV-3 Human Endogenous Retrovirus in a Fraction of the Caucasian Population

Nathalie de Parseval, Thierry Heidmann
1998 Journal of Virology  
ERV-3 is an evolutionarily conserved single-copy human endogenous retrovirus with a coding envelope gene potentially involved in important placental functions. We have investigated the sequence variability of this gene among 150 unrelated Caucasian individuals and found eight polymorphic sites. One of them corresponds to the introduction of a stop codon resulting in the production of a severely truncated ERV-3 envelope protein lacking both the fusion peptide and the immunosuppressive domain of
more » ... pressive domain of the protein. The stop codon is observed in a homozygous state in approximately 1% of Caucasian individuals without evidence for counterselection, thus precluding the involvement of any essential function of the gene in placental implantation and development. This natural knockout provides a mean to investigate other potential roles for this otherwise highly conserved gene.
doi:10.1128/jvi.72.4.3442-3445.1998 fatcat:rzg3mox76beahfqcxvlbt722jq