RNA viruses sneak into host DNA

Endogenous retroviruses, ancient viruses embedded throughout mammalian genomes, might help RNA viruses permanently integrate into the genomes of their hosts, according to a report in linkurl:__Science__;http://www.sciencemag.org/ this week. The findings overturn the long-held idea that most types of RNA viruses are incapable of DNA integration and raise another safety concern in the use of RNA-based gene therapy. "It's a very interesting paper," said Jens Mayer from the University of Saarlan

Edyta Zielinska
Jan 14, 2009
Endogenous retroviruses, ancient viruses embedded throughout mammalian genomes, might help RNA viruses permanently integrate into the genomes of their hosts, according to a report in linkurl:__Science__;http://www.sciencemag.org/ this week. The findings overturn the long-held idea that most types of RNA viruses are incapable of DNA integration and raise another safety concern in the use of RNA-based gene therapy. "It's a very interesting paper," said Jens Mayer from the University of Saarland, who was not involved in the research, adding that it "touches a number of fields." linkurl:Lars Hangartner;http://www.virology.uzh.ch/research/hangartnerGroupENid_en.html from the University of Zurich started his investigation with a 1997 paper, in which colleague linkurl:Paul Klenerman,;http://www.jenner.ac.uk/invest_biog_p_klenerman.html then at the University Hospital Zurich, noticed that a small fraction of mouse cells contained DNA that was complementary to a mouse RNA virus. That study reported that the RNA virus called lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) had somehow integrated into the mouse genome -- surprising because...

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