Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Two sets of human-tropic pig retrovirus


Advances in controlling immunological rejection have raised the possibility that pigs could be used as a source of organs and tissues for transplantation into humans1,2. However, the report that one pig kidney cell line, PK15, produces Ctype retroviruses capable of infecting human cells3 has reinforced fears over the potential risks of viral infections associated with xenotransplantation4,5. Further support for these fears comes from the discovery of two different classes of porcine endogenous proviruses (PERVs), capable of infecting human cells, in PK15 cells as well as in a variety of normal porcine tissues.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.

Figure 1: The envelope proteins of PERV-A and PERV-B.
Figure 2: Southern analysis of the number and genetic distribution of PERV proviruses.


  1. 1

    Cozzi, E. & White, D. J. G. Nature Med. 1, 964–966 (1995).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2

    Sharma, A. et al. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 93, 7190–7195 (1996).

    Google Scholar 

  3. 3

    Patience, C., Takeuchi, Y. & Weiss, R. A. Nature Med. 3, 282–286 (1997).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4

    Stoye, J. P. & Coffin, J. M. Nature Med. 1, 1100 (1995).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5

    Advisory Group on the Ethics of Xenotransplantation Animal Tissues into Humans (HMSO, Norwich, 1997).

  6. 6

    Coffin, J. M. in Fields Virology 3rd edn (eds Fields, B. N. et al. .) 1767-1847 (Lippincott-Raven, Philadelphia, 1996).

  7. 7

    Frohman, M. A. & Martin, G. R. Technique 1, 165–170 (1989).

    Google Scholar 

  8. 8

    Battini, J. L., Danos, O. & Heard, J. M. J. Virol. 69, 713–719 (1995).

    Google Scholar 

  9. 9

    Frankel, W. N., Stoye, J. P., Taylor, B. A. & Coffin, J. M. Genetics 124, 221–236 (1990).

    Google Scholar 

  10. 10

    Stoye, J. P., Frankel, W. N. & Coffin, J. M. Technique 3, 123–128 (1991).

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information



Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Le Tissier, P., Stoye, J., Takeuchi, Y. et al. Two sets of human-tropic pig retrovirus. Nature 389, 681–682 (1997).

Download citation

Further reading


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing