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Involvement of Endogenous Retroviruses in Prion Diseases

Author(s): Yun-Jung Lee | Byung-Hoon Jeong | Eun-Kyung Choi | Yong-Sun Kim

Journal: Pathogens
ISSN 2076-0817

Volume: 2;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 533;
Date: 2013;
Original page

Keywords: prion diseases | Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) | endogenous retroviruses (ERVs)

For millions of years, vertebrates have been continuously exposed to infection by retroviruses. Ancient retroviral infection of germline cells resulted in the formation and accumulation of inherited retrovirus sequences in host genomes. These inherited retroviruses are referred to as endogenous retroviruses (ERVs), and recent estimates have revealed that a significant portion of animal genomes is made up of ERVs. Although various host factors have suppressed ERV activation, both positive and negative functions have been reported for some ERVs in normal and abnormal physiological conditions, such as in disease states. Similar to other complex diseases, ERV activation has been observed in prion diseases, and this review will discuss the potential involvement of ERVs in prion diseases.
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