Endogenous retroviral sequences in the pig genome (PERV) represent a potential infectious risk in xenotransplantation. All known infectious PERV have been asssigned to the PERV gamma1 family, consisting of the subfamilies A, B, and C. The aim of the study was the concise examination of PERV gamma by the analysis of the retroviral pro-pol sequences. The analysis of 52 pro-pol clones amplified in this study revealed eight PERV gamma families. In addition to four already-described families (gamma1, gamma4, gamma5, gamma6), four novel families (gamma7, gamma8, gamma9, gamma10) were identified. Quantitative analysis of the novel PERV gamma sequences in selected breeds revealed variations in the endogenous retroviral load. Open reading frames (ORF) in the amplified proviral fragment were only found for PERV gamma1. In addition, novel ORF-containing PERV gamma1 clones consisting of hybrid sequences were revealed. Sequence comparison from published full-length PERV gamma1 clones of the PERV subfamilies A, B, and C resulted in a lack of strict correlation of the classification of pro-pol and env. The results indicated the occurrence of causative recombination events between retroviral genomes. Thus, our study on PERV gamma provides new data for the evaluation and selection of pigs intended to be used in xenotransplantation.
Animals Base Sequence Endogenous Retroviruses/classification* Endogenous Retroviruses/genetics Gene Products, pol/chemistry* Molecular Sequence Data Mutation Open Reading Frames/genetics Phylogeny Polyproteins/chemistry* Recombination, Genetic Sequence Alignment Sequence Analysis, DNA Swine/virology*