Ines Colmegna MDa Robert F Garry PhDb

aSection of Rheumatology, Department of Medicine, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, 2020 Gravier Street, New Orleans, LA 70112, USA bDepartment of Microbiology and Immunology, Tulane University Health Sciences Center, 1430 Tulane Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70112, USA

Definition and characteristics of human endogenous retroviruses

The human genome sequencing project and similar initiatives for other species have revealed that a large portion of vertebrate genomic DNA consists of genetic elements that are present in multiple copies. These repetitive elements can be subdivided into those that are interspersed (transposons and other mobile elements, processed pseudogenes) or tandemly arrayed (satellites and telomeres) in the genome. Human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs) represent a class of interspersed mobile repetitive elements known as retrotransposons. HERVs are closely related to certain members of the Retroviridae, an important family of human and animal viruses that includes HIV and human T-lymphotropic virus (HTLV), causes of the AIDS and adult T-cell leukemia, respectively. Before the pandemic emergence of HIV, the study of this virus family lead to the discovery of onco-genes, a quantum advance in the field of cancer genetics. In contrast to exogenous retroviruses, which are transmitted horizontally as infectious particles in a manner similar to other viruses, HERVs typically do not form infectious particles, but rather are transmitted vertically by Mendelian mechanisms (Table 1). Recent studies have implicated HERVs in a wide variety of processes, both pathologic (ie, autoimmune diseases and cancer) and physiologic (ie, placental function and morphogenesis [1], and protection from exogenous retroviral infection [2,3]). This article discusses studies that implicate HERVs in many human autoimmune diseases.

* Corresponding author.

E-mail address: [email protected] (R.F. Garry).

0891-5520/06/$ - see front matter © 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.idc.2006.09.008 id.theclinics.com

Table 1

Differential characteristics of exogenous and endogenous retroviruses

Table 1

Differential characteristics of exogenous and endogenous retroviruses

Was this article helpful?

0 0
10 Ways To Fight Off Cancer

10 Ways To Fight Off Cancer

Learning About 10 Ways Fight Off Cancer Can Have Amazing Benefits For Your Life The Best Tips On How To Keep This Killer At Bay Discovering that you or a loved one has cancer can be utterly terrifying. All the same, once you comprehend the causes of cancer and learn how to reverse those causes, you or your loved one may have more than a fighting chance of beating out cancer.

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment