Identification of receptors for pig endogenous retrovirus

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2003 May 27;100(11):6759-64. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1138025100. Epub 2003 May 9.


Xenotransplantation of porcine tissues has the potential to treat a wide variety of major health problems including organ failure and diabetes. Balanced against the potential benefits of xenotransplantation, however, is the risk of human infection with a porcine microorganism. In particular, the transmission of porcine endogenous retrovirus (PERV) is a major concern [Chapman, L. E. & Bloom, E. T. (2001) J. Am. Med. Assoc. 285, 2304-2306]. Here we report the identification of two, sequence-related, human proteins that act as receptors for PERV-A, encoded by genes located on chromosomes 8 and 17. We also describe homologs from baboon and porcine cells that also are active as receptors. Conversely, activity could not be demonstrated with a syntenic murine receptor homolog. Sequence analysis indicates that PERV-A receptors [human PERV-A receptor (HuPAR)-1, HuPAR-2, baboon PERV-A receptor 2, and porcine PERV-A receptor] are multiple membrane-spanning proteins similar to receptors for other gammaretroviruses. Expression is widespread in human tissues including peripheral blood mononuclear cells, but their biological functions are unknown. The identification of the PERV-A receptors opens avenues of research necessary for a more complete assessment of the retroviral risks of pig to human xenotransplantation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • DNA Primers
  • Endogenous Retroviruses / chemistry
  • Endogenous Retroviruses / metabolism*
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Receptors, Virus / metabolism*
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Swine


  • DNA Primers
  • Receptors, Virus

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AY070774
  • GENBANK/AY070775
  • GENBANK/AY070776
  • GENBANK/AY134475