Characterization of an integrated, endogenous mouse mammary tumor virus-like (MMTV) betaretrovirus genome in a black Syrian hamster (Mesocricetus auratus)

Katalin B. Horváth, Ákos Boros, E. Kálmán, Péter Pankovics, Eric Delwart, Gábor Reuter

Research output: Article


Retroviruses (family Retroviridae) are important agents of humans and animals. This study reports the detection and complete genome characterization of a novel endogenous retrovirus from the black Syrian hamster (Mesocricetus auratus) with a squamous cell skin tumor. The proviral genome, tentatively named black Syrian hamster retrovirus (BSHRV/2013/HUN, MK304634), was 8784 nucleotide in length with typical full-length betaretrovirus genome organization of 5’LTR-gag-pro-pol-env-3’LTR and with a characteristic mouse mammary tumor virus-like (MMTV) betaretrovirus dUTPase domain but without a sag gene. The BSHRV gag (534aa), pro/pol (~1099aa) and env (672aa) proteins had 56%/63%/50% aa identity to the corresponding proteins of MMTV (AF228552). The proviral DNA is detectable in tumor as well as in tumor-free cells by conventional PCR and qPCR but only visible in the tumor cells by in situ hybridization. Low level retroviral RNA expression was found only in the DNase-treated RNA tumor samples using RT/nested PCR. BSHRV/2013/HUN-like betaretrovirus DNA was also identified from a faecal and tissue samples from 1 of the further 3 tested individuals by nested-PCR and qPCR. Further research is needed to investigate the distribution, activity and etiological role of this novel MMTV-like betaretrovirus species in hamster.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103995
JournalInfection, Genetics and Evolution
Publication statusPublished - nov. 2019


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

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