A Preliminary Molecular and Phylogenetic Analysis of the Genome of a Novel Endogenous Retrovirus in the Sea Slug Elysia chlorotica

2017-02-03 18:35:18

The Biological Bulletin; 3 February 2017: /DOI:10.1086/691071

Sidney K. Pierce, Padmanabhan Mahadevan, Steven E. Massey, and Michael L. Middlebrooks


An endogenous retrovirus that is present in the sea slug Elysia chlorotica is expressed in all individuals at the end of the annual life cycle. But the precise role of the virus, if any, in slug senescence or death is unknown. We have determined the genomic sequence of the virus and performed a phylogenetic analysis of the data. The 6060-base pair genome of the virus possesses a reverse transcriptase-domain-containing protein that shows similarity to retrotransposon sequences found in Aplysia californica and Strongylocentrotus purpuratus. However, nucleotide BLAST analysis of the whole genome resulted in hits to only a few portions of the genome, indicating that the Elysia chlorotica retrovirus is novel, has not been previously sequenced, and does not have great genetic similarity to other known viral species. When more invertebrate retroviral genomes are examined, a more precise phylogenetic placement of the Elysia chlorotica retrovirus can be determined.

Empire Genomic's IDProof DNA Polymerase was used in this publication.

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