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Scientists identify new, beneficial function of endogenous retroviruses in immune response

Discussion in 'Other Health News and Research' started by Bob, Dec 25, 2014.

  1. Bob

    Bob

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    England (south coast)
    This is some new research that demonstrates that endogenous retroviruses (in mice) play an integral, active and positive role in the immune system (in mice at least) specifically to stimulate B cells to make antibodies in some circumstances.

    This is purely my own speculation, but my thinking is that perhaps if these particular ERVs are over-active, or over-expressed, for whatever reason, then they might over-stimulate B cells to produce too many antibodies. And in such a circumstance, perhaps anti-retrovirals might suppress their expression.

    So this might be of interest in anyone who is interested in HERVs, and the potential of anti-retro-virals to suppress HERVs and to treat ME/CFS. And it might be of general interest for anyone interested in the immune system.

    As far as my understanding goes the ERVs are active against polysaccharides, and so stimulate antigens to polysaccharides rather than to proteins.


    News Article:
    Scientists identify new, beneficial function of endogenous retroviruses in immune response
    December 18, 2014
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/12/141218141057.htm



    Another News Article:
    Repurposed Retroviruses - B cells have commandeered ancient viral sequences in the genome to transmit antigen signals.
    By Ruth Williams | December 18, 2014
    http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/41707/title/Repurposed-Retroviruses/




    Research Paper:
    MAVS, cGAS, and endogenous retroviruses in T-independent B cell responses
    Ming Zeng et al.
    19 December 2014
    Science
    Vol. 346 no. 6216 pp. 1486-1492
    DOI: 10.1126/science.346.6216.1486
    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/346/6216/1486.abstract
     
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  2. snowathlete

    snowathlete

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    Interesting because I have wondered for a while if ERVs might have some sort of purposeful role, though I always thought it might be more viral focused.
     
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  3. boohealth

    boohealth Senior Member

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    Thanks, Bob. Balance is key.
     
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  4. natasa778

    natasa778 Senior Member

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    Could easily be behind the observed lowered risk of Multiple Sclerosis in HIV+ on HAART

    While not clear if this is due to some effect of HIV itself on the immune system, or the effect of HAART therapy (since records are messy: "...We have had to make reasonable assumptions about the likelihood of our exposed HIV cohort being treated with cART during the period of observation") the authors speculate:

     
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  5. natasa778

    natasa778 Senior Member

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    This is also super interesting:

    http://rheumatology.oxfordjournals.org/content/42/10/1164.full

    btw they also mention

     
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  6. boohealth

    boohealth Senior Member

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    That is very interesting, thx.
     
  7. anciendaze

    anciendaze Senior Member

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    While they're at it why don't they mention that HERV-W is active during formation of the placenta? The problem is less that these ERVs exist than that they are active during a variety of disease states. It seems fairly straightforward to see what happens if this activity is suppressed, but strangely this has been very slow to happen.
     

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