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Minerva Biotecnologica 2019 June;31(2):55-9

DOI: 10.23736/S1120-4826.19.02517-5

Copyright © 2019 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Human endogenous retroviruses expressional level is influenced by gender

Carla ALLIAUDI 1, 2, Ilaria GALLIANO 1, 2, Paola MONTANARI 1, 2, Marzia PAVAN 3, Cristina CALVI 1, 2, Valentina DAPRÀ 1, Massimiliano BERGALLO 1, 2

1 Department of Public Health and Pediatric Sciences, Laboratory of Citoimmunodiagnostics, University of Turin, Medical School, Turin, Italy; 2 Department of Pediatrics, Unit of Infectious Diseases, Regina Margherita Children’s Hospital, University of Turin, Turin, Italy; 3 Immunohematology and Transfusion Medicine, Regina Margherita Children’s Hospital, Turin, Italy



BACKGROUND: The human genome contains many endogenous retroviruses (HERVs) that represent relics of ancient germ cell infections and were integrated into the germ cell genome of primates over 30 million years ago. HERV elements were implicated in biosynthesis and nucleic acid metabolism; are strongly associated with cytoplasm and some elements may have roles in DNA binding and calcium ion binding and as constituents of ribosome.
METHODS: We analyzed the pol HERV-K, HERV-W and HERV-H expression levels in newborn babies classified by gender in order to define if exist a different based expression in the two sex.
RESULTS: We assessed the transcriptional activity of HERV-H, HERV-K, and HERV-W in umbilical cord blood from 64 term babies (28 male and 36 female). In our population, the HERV-H, HERV-K, and HERV-W families were always transcriptionally active. We identified a males overexpression of HERV-W and HERV-H.
CONCLUSIONS: Recent research has demonstrated that the presence of endogenous retroviral sequences in our genome has a number of complex functional and evolutionary consequences and cannot simply be regarded as “junk” DNA.


KEY WORDS: Endogenous retroviruses; Gene expression; Sex

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