Open Access Research article

Injury-elicited stressors alter endogenous retrovirus expression in lymphocytes depending on cell type and source lymphoid organ

Kang-Hoon Lee, Debora Lim, Tajia Green, David Greenhalgh and Kiho Cho*

Author Affiliations

Department of Surgery, Burn Research, Shriners Hospitals for Children Northern California, University of California, Davis, Sacramento, CA, 95817, USA

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BMC Immunology 2013, 14:2  doi:10.1186/1471-2172-14-2

Published: 5 January 2013



Murine leukemia virus-type endogenous retroviruses (MuLV-ERVs) constitute ~10% of the mouse genome and are associated with various pathophysiologic processes. In this study, we examined whether MuLV-ERVs’ response to burn-elicited stressors is specific for certain lymphocyte populations and/or locations of lymphoid organ.


B- and T-cells, which were sorted from nine lymphoid organs of C57BL/6J mice after burn, were subjected to MuLV-ERV expression analyses. Overall, the post-burn MuLV-ERV expression pattern was dependent on lymphocyte type, time after injury, location of lymphoid organ, and MuLV-ERV type. For instance, the MuLV-ERV expression in T-cells from the thymus and three cervical lymph nodes decreased at 3 hours post-burn while the expression of some MuLV-ERVs was augmented in B-cells derived from the mesenteric lymph node. The MuLV-ERV U3 sequences population of the burn-24 hours group was less diverse in comparison to the no burn and burn-3 hours groups. In addition, it was apparent that at the 24 hours time point, the U3 populations of B-cells from both no burn and burn groups were less heterogeneous than the T-cells’ U3 populations. Using the U3 sequences, some of which were isolated only from specific experimental groups (B- vs. T-cells; no burn vs. burn), as probes, 51 putative MuLV-ERVs, including 16 full-length proviruses, were mapped followed by characterization of their biologic properties.


MuLV-ERVs’ response to burn-elicited stressors may be differentially controlled depending on lymphocyte type, location of lymphoid organ, MuLV-ERV type, and stress duration.

B-cell; T-cell; Burn; Stress; Murine leukemia virus-type endogenous retrovirus