Ecotropic Virus Integration site 12 (Evi12) is a common virus insertion site (cVIS) in retrovirally induced murine models of leukemia and lymphoma, suggesting an important role for this locus in these hematopoietic disorders. Evi12 is located near the promoter of the ER chaperone protein and Hsp90 family member Grp94. Here we show that viral insertion in Evi12 results in the expression of aberrant Grp94 transcripts in Cas-Br-MuLV as well as in AKXD induced hematopoietic tumors, demonstrating that Grp94 is a common viral target gene. While most transcripts encode for truncated forms of Grp94, transcripts containing viral gag sequences were detected in the leukemia cell line NFS107. Interestingly, these fusion transcripts encode for myristylated viral-Grp94 fusion proteins that localize to the plasma membrane. Combined with recent evidence that myristylated forms of Hsp90 transform cells, our data suggest that myristylation of target genes may be an important mechanism in retrovirally mediated oncogenesis. Since retroviral insertion in Evi12 also affects the expression of a recently identified novel gene Grp94 neighboring nucleotidase (Gnn), located at the other side of Evi12, it appears that proviral insertion can lead to deregulation of two genes present in the same locus.

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Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

van den Akker, E., Aarts, B., & Delwel, R. (2007). Viral insertion in Evi12 causes expression of aberrant Grp94 mRNAs containing the viral gag myristylation motif. Virology, 366(2), 227–233. doi:10.1016/j.virol.2007.04.026