Endogenous retroviral sequences in the pig genome represent a potential infectious risk in xenotransplantation. Porcine endogenous retrovirus (PERV) gamma sequences described to date have been classified into several families. The known infectious, human-tropic PERVs have been assigned to the PERV gamma1 subfamilies A, B and C. High copy numbers and full-length clones have also been observed for an additional family, designated PERV gamma2. The aim of this study was to examine the PERV gamma2 family by analysis of retroviral pro/pol gene sequences. The proviral load was observed to be similar among various pig breeds. Although clones harbouring an open reading frame in the examined region were found, analysis of published large PERV gamma2 clones revealed multiple deleterious mutations in each of the retroviral genes. Various recombination events between gamma2 genomes were revealed. In contrast to PERV gamma1, phylogenetic analyses did not distinguish defined subfamilies, but indicated the independent evolution of the proviruses after a single event of retroviral amplification. Expression analysis showed large PERV gamma2 transcripts and variable transcription in several tissues. Analysis of the two published gamma2 env gene sequences observed the partial lack of the receptor-binding domain. Overall, this study indicated the low infectious potential for PERV gamma2.
Amino Acid Sequence Animals Base Sequence Endogenous Retroviruses/chemistry Endogenous Retroviruses/classification Endogenous Retroviruses/genetics Endogenous Retroviruses/metabolism* Female Gene Products, env/chemistry Gene Products, pol/chemistry Molecular Sequence Data Organ Specificity Phylogeny* Polyproteins/chemistry Recombination, Genetic* Sequence Analysis, DNA Swine/virology* Swine, Miniature/virology