Previously, we found a retroviral sequence, HML-6.2BC1, to be expressed at high levels in a multifocal ductal breast cancer from a 41-year-old woman who also developed ovarian carcinoma. The sequence of a human genomic clone (HML-6.28) selected by high-stringency hybridization with HML-6.2BC1 is reported here. It was 99% identical to HML-6.2BC1 and gave the same restriction fragments as total DNA. HML-6.28 is a 4.7-kb provirus with a 5'LTR, truncated in RT. Data from two similar genomic clones and sequences found in GenBank are also reported. Overlaps between them gave a rather complete picture of the HML-6.2BC1-like human endogenous retroviral elements. Work with somatic cell hybrids and FISH localized HML-6.28 to chromosome 6, band p21, close to the MHC region. The causal role of HML-6.28 in breast cancer remains unclear. Nevertheless, the ca. 20 Myr old HML-6 sequences enabled the definition of common and unique features of type A, B, and D (ABD) retroviruses. In Gag, HML-6 has no intervening sequences between matrix and capsid proteins, unlike extant exogenous ABD viruses, possibly an ancestral feature. Alignment of the dUTPase showed it to be present in all ABD viruses, but gave a phylogenetic tree different from trees made from other ABD genes, indicating a distinct phylogeny of dUTPase. A conserved 24-mer sequence in the amino terminus of some ABD envelope genes suggested a conserved function.
Copyright 1999 Academic Press.