Western blot analysis of ERVWE1 (arrow) using ERVWE1 polyclonal antibody (Cat # PAB1950). 293 cell lysates (2 ug/lane) either nontransfected (Lane 1) or transiently transfected with the ERVWE1 gene (Lane 2) (Origene Technologies).
Many different human endogenous retrovirus (HERV) families are expressed in normal placental tissue at high levels, suggesting that HERVs are functionally important in reproduction. This gene is part of an HERV provirus on chromosome 7 that has inactivating mutations in the gag and pol genes. This gene is the envelope glycoprotein gene which appears to have been selectively preserved. The product of this gene, syncytin, is expressed in the placental syncytiotrophoblast and is involved in fusion of the cytotrophoblast cells to form the syncytial layer of the placenta. The protein has the characteristics of a typical retroviral envelope protein, including a furin cleavage site that separates the surface (SU) and transmembrane (TM) proteins which form a heterodimer. Alternatively spliced transcript variants encoding the same protein have been found for this gene. [provided by RefSeq