Endogenous viral elements (EVEs) are genomic DNA sequences derived from viruses. Some EVEs have open reading frames (ORFs) that can express proteins with physiological roles in their host. Furthermore, some EVEs exhibit a protective role against exogenous viral infection in their host. Endogenous parvoviral elements (EPVs) are highly represented in mammalian genomes, and although some of them contain ORFs, their function is unknown. We have shown that the locus EPV-Dependo.43-ODegus, an EPV with an intact ORF, is transcribed in Octodon degus (degu). Here we examine the antiviral activity of the protein encoded in this EPV, named DeRep. DeRep was produced in bacteria and used to generate antibodies that recognize DeRep in western blots of degu tissue. To test if DeRep could protect against exogenous parvovirus, we challenged cells with the minute virus of mice (MVM), a model autonomous parvovirus. We observed that MVM protein expression, DNA damage induced by replication, viral DNA, and cytopathic effects are reduced when DeRep is expressed in cells. The results of this study demonstrate that DeRep is expressed in degu and can inhibit parvovirus replication. This is the first time that an EPV has been shown to have antiviral activity against an exogenous virus.
- endogenous viral elements