Presence of dUTPase in the various human endogenous retrovirus K (HERV-K) families

J Mol Evol. 2003 Dec;57(6):642-9. doi: 10.1007/s00239-003-2514-6.


Various retroviruses have been shown to encode dUTPase. The overall phylogeny of dUTPase is unclear, though. The human genome contains a significant amount of human endogenous retroviruses (HERV) representing fossilized sequences of ancient exogenous retroviruses. A few HERV families have been reported to harbor dUTPase domains. We surveyed the various HERV families for the presence of dUTPase and found that ancestors of all HERV-K families but one encoded dUTPase. With two exceptions phylogenetic analysis shows a monophyletic origin of dUTPase for the different HERV-K dUTPases. Sequences of consensus dUTPase domains suggest that the various exogenous ancestors of HERV-K once encoded active enzymes. Our analysis provides informations on dUTPase phylogeny and further shows that endogenous retroviruses provide important informations regarding retrovirus evolution.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Consensus Sequence / genetics
  • Databases, Nucleic Acid
  • Endogenous Retroviruses / enzymology
  • Endogenous Retroviruses / genetics*
  • Endopeptidases / genetics
  • Genome, Human
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Open Reading Frames / genetics
  • Phylogeny
  • Proviruses / enzymology
  • Proviruses / genetics
  • Pyrophosphatases / genetics*
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Viral Proteins / genetics


  • Viral Proteins
  • Endopeptidases
  • Pyrophosphatases
  • dUTP pyrophosphatase