Nakaya Y, Shojima T, Yasuda J, Imakawa K, Miyazawa T
Porcine endogenous retroviruses (PERVs) have been considered one of the major risks of xenotransplantation from pigs to humans. PERV-A efficiently utilizes human PERV-A receptor 2 (HuPAR-2)/GPR172B to infect human cells; however, there has been no study on the regulation mechanisms of HuPAR-2/GPR172B expression. In this study, we examined the expression of HuPAR-2/GPR172B from the standpoint of epigenetic regulation and discussed the risks of PERV-A infection in xenotransplantation. Quantitative real-time RT-PCR revealed that HuPAR-2 mRNA was preferentially expressed in placental tissue, whereas it was highly suppressed in BeWo cells (a human choriocarcinoma cell line) and HEK293 cells. A CpG island containing the HuPAR-2 transcription starting site was identified by in silico analysis. The DNA methylation ratio (the relative quantity of methylcytosine to total cytosine) and histone modification (H3K9me3) levels in the CpG island measured by bisulfite genomic sequencing and ChIP assay, respectively, were inversely correlated with the mRNA levels. Both HuPAR-2 mRNA and HuPAR-2 protein were up-regulated in HEK293 cells by inhibiting DNA methylation and histone deacetylation. Additionally, promoter/enhancer activities within the CpG island were suppressed by in vitro DNA methylation. Our results demonstrated that epigenetic modification regulates HuPAR-2 expression.