We have isolated and characterized a new human endogenous provirus, which is closely related to the human retrovirus S71, but unlike S71 has a full-length pol gene. Two degenerate oligonucleotide primers based on highly conserved motifs within the active sites of two retroviral proteins (the protease and reverse transcriptase) were designed and used for PCR. An amplified product of 847 bp in length, which showed significant homology to protease and reverse transcriptase of several retroviruses, was used for high stringency hybridization with a human genomic library. The MuLV-related endogenous retrovirus sequence, designated HC2, was isolated and completely sequenced. HC2 is a provirus with complete gag and pol genes and a 3' LTR; the 5' LTR and env gene are missing. The gag and pol genes appear complete, since they contain sequences homologous to the matrix protein, capsid protein, and nucleocapsid protein of gag and to the protease, reverse transcriptase, tether, RNase H, and integrase of pol. Phylogenetic analysis suggests that although HC2 and S71 are MuLV-related retroviruses, their characters are quite distinct, being placed outside of a clade containing most of the previously characterized MuLV-related retroviruses such as GaLV, FeLV, BaEV, and SSV/SSAV.
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