, Volume 151, Issue 11, pp 2215-2228
Date: 10 Jul 2006

Tempo and mode of ERV-K evolution in human and chimpanzee genomes

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access

Summary.

Several families of endogenous retrovirus (ERV) exist in copious numbers in the genomes of primate species. Therefore, we undertook a systematic search for endogenous retrovirus sequences from the ERV-K family, comparing across both human (Homo sapiens) and chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) genomes. Using conserved motifs of the ERV-K as query we identified and characterized 76 complete ERV-K elements, 54 in human (HERV-K), 34 of which were described previously, and 21 in the chimpanzee (CERV-K). Phylogenetic analysis using coding regions and LTRs showed the existence of two main branches. Group I was the most heterogeneous and had an average integration time of 18.3 MYBP (million years before present), using rates ranging from 1.5 to 4.0 × 10−9 s/s/y (substitution per site per year). Group O/N integrated around 19.4 MYBP and nested Group N integrated about 14 MYBP. We found evidence for strong positive selection on the gag, pol and env coding regions and for A/T hypermutation. Our data suggest that the endogenous elements were possibly involved in chromosomal rearrangements and retained a great deal of information from their active stage, most likely as a consequence of host interactions. This study also contributes to the annotation effort of both human and chimpanzee genomes.