Expression of endogenous betaretroviruses in the ovine uterus: effects of neonatal age, estrous cycle, pregnancy, and progesterone. Academic Article uri icon


  • The ovine genome contains 15 to 20 copies of endogenous retroviruses (enJSRVs) highly related to the oncogenic jaagsiekte sheep retrovirus (JSRV) and enzootic nasal tumor virus. enJSRVs are highly expressed in the endometrial lumenal epithelia (LE) and glandular epithelia (GE) of the ovine uterus. The effects of neonatal age, estrous cycle, pregnancy, and progesterone on expression of enJSRVs in the ovine uterus were determined. Expression of enJSRV RNAs was absent from the uterus of ewes at birth, but enJSRV RNAs were expressed specifically in the LE and developing GE from postnatal day (PND) 7 to PND 56. In adult ewes, enJSRV RNAs were detected only in the epithelia of the uterine endometrium, as well as epithelia of the oviduct, cervix, and vagina. In cyclic ewes, endometrial enJSRV RNA abundance was lowest on day 1, increased 12-fold between days 1 and 13, and then decreased to day 15. In pregnant ewes, levels of endometrial enJSRV RNAs were high on day 11, increased to day 13, and then decreased to day 19. In day 17 and 19 conceptuses, enJSRV RNAs were also detected in binucleate cells of the trophectoderm. Immunoreactive JSRV capsid and envelope proteins were detected in the endometrial LE and GE, as well as in the binucleate cells of the conceptus. In transfection assays utilizing ovine endometrial LE cells, progesterone increased transcriptional activity of several enJSRV long terminal repeats. Collectively, these results indicate that transcription of enJSRVs in the endometrial epithelia of the ovine uterus is increased by progesterone and might support a role for enJSRVs in conceptus-endometrium interactions during the peri-implantation period and early placental morphogenesis.

published proceedings

  • J Virol

author list (cited authors)

  • Palmarini, M., Gray, C. A., Carpenter, K., Fan, H., Bazer, F. W., & Spencer, T. E.

citation count

  • 65

complete list of authors

  • Palmarini, M||Gray, CA||Carpenter, K||Fan, H||Bazer, FW||Spencer, TE

publication date

  • December 2001