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Duplication and divergence of the retrovirus restriction gene Fv1 in Mus caroli allows protection from multiple retroviruses

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posted on 01.07.2020 by Melvyn W Yap, George R Young, Renata Varnaite, Serge Morand, Jonathan P Stoye
Viruses and their hosts are locked in an evolutionary race where resistance to infection is acquired by the hosts while viruses develop strategies to circumvent these host defenses. Forming one arm of the host defense armory are cell autonomous restriction factors like Fv1. Originally described as protecting laboratory mice from infection by murine leukemia virus (MLV), Fv1s from some wild mice have also been found to restrict non-MLV retroviruses, suggesting an important role in the protection against viruses in nature. We surveyed the Fv1 genes of wild mice trapped in Thailand and characterized their restriction activities against a panel of retroviruses. An extra copy of the Fv1 gene, named Fv7, was found on chromosome 6 of three closely related Asian species of mice: Mus caroli, M. cervicolor, and M. cookii. The presence of flanking repeats suggested it arose by LINE-mediated retroduplication within their most recent common ancestor. A high degree of natural variation was observed in both Fv1 and Fv7 and, on top of positive selection at certain residues, insertions and deletions were present that changed the length of the reading frames. These genes exhibited a range of restriction phenotypes, with activities directed against gamma-, spuma-, and lentiviruses. It seems likely, at least in the case of M. caroli, that the observed gene duplication may expand the breadth of restriction beyond the capacity of Fv1 alone and that one or more such viruses have recently driven or continue to drive the evolution of the Fv1 and Fv7 genes.

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Wellcome Trust (Grant ID: 108012/Z/15/Z, Grant title: WT 108012/Z/15/Z)

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