Retroviruses: ancient and modern
Retroviruses are transmitted in two distinct ways: as infectious virions and as ‘endogenous’ proviral DNA integrated in the germ line of their hosts. Modern infectious viruses such as HIV recently infected mankind from simian hosts, whereas human endogenous retroviral genomes have been present throughout old world primate evolution. Recently we have characterised novel retroviruses in humans and pigs. Human retrovirus 5 (HRV-5) is detected as an exogenous genome in association with arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus. Porcine endogenous retroviruses (PERV) are carried in swine DNA but can be activated to produce virions that are infectious for human cells, which has implications for xenotransplantation. A brief account of HRV-5 and PERV is given here.
KeywordsSystemic Lupus Erythematosus Equine Infectious Anaemia Virus Murine Mammary Tumour Virus Primary Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cell Human Xenotransplantation
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