Solitary long terminal repeats (LTRs) of the human endogenous retroviruses K family (HERV-K) have been found to be coexpressed with sequences of closely located genes. We identified forty-three HERV-K LTR-like elements in primates (African great apes, two Old World monkeys, and two New World monkeys) and analyzed them along with human-specific HERV-K LTRs. We report detection of HERV-K LTR-like elements from New World monkeys, as represented by the squirrel monkey and the night monkey, for the first time. Analysis revealed a high degree of sequence homology with human-specific HERV-K LTRs. A phylogenetic tree obtained by the neighbor-joining method revealed that five sequence (SMS-1, 2, 5, 6, 7) from the squirrel monkey and three sequences (NM6-4, 5, 9) from the night monkey are more closely related to human-specific HERV-K LTRs than they are to those of apes (the chimpanzee and gorilla) and Old World monkeys (the African green monkey and rhesus monkey). The findings are consistent with the concept the HERV-K LTR-like elements have proliferated independently and recently in the genome of primates, and that such proliferation has been more recent in Homo sapiens and in these representatives of New World monkeys than in some Old World monkeys.
Archives of Virology – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 1, 1999
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