According to new research, the viral DNA of the human genome, which arose from prehistoric infections, a type of virus called Retrograde virus It protects human cells against some modern viruses.

Research in the journal science Science Published with the title “Evolution and anti-viral reaction of human protein with the origin of retrovirus (retrovirus)”, which provides proof of the authenticity of this work.

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A virus that acts as an anti-virus: retrograde virus

Previous studies have shown that there are fragments of prehistoric viral DNA – called endogenous retroviruses – in the genomes of mice, chickens, cats and sheep, which create immunity by preventing modern viruses from entering host cells, which originate outside the body. Although this study was done by cultivating human cells in the laboratory, it shows that the antiviral effect Endogenous retrograde virus Probably for humans too.

retrograde virus

Such research is important; Because further research could uncover a collection of natural antiviral proteins that are effective for treatments without side effects. This work suggests the possibility of a previously uncharacterized genomic defense system that could be widespread.

Cedric Fachut, professor of molecular biology and genetics in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, said:

“The results show that there is a reservoir of proteins in the human genome that have the ability to block a wide range of viruses.”

What exactly does retrograde virus do to our body?

Endogenous retrograde virus They make up about 8 percent of the human genome—at least four times the amount of DNA that makes up protein-coding genes. Reverse viruses insert their RNA into the host cell, which is then converted into DNA and integrated into the host’s genome. The infected cell then follows the genetic instructions and produces more virus. In this way, the virus hijacks the cell’s transcription machinery to replicate itself.

Usually, retroviruses infect cells that are not passed from generation to generation, but some of them infect germ cells, such as eggs or sperm, which opens the door for retrovirus DNA to be passed from parent to offspring, eventually leading to Permanent transfection occurs in the cell and the host genome is transcribed.

Retrograde virus

because Virus-backwards Once inside the cell, the viral envelope protein binds to a receptor on the cell surface, much like a key in a lock. This pore is also known as the spike protein for certain viruses such as SARS-CoV-2.

In this study, Frank Feschut and his colleagues used computational genomics to scan the human genome and list all the potential coding sequences for the envelope protein of retroviruses that might have retained receptor binding. They then conducted further experiments to determine which of these genes were active—that is, the expression of the enveloped virus-retroviral gene in specific types of human cells.

Retrograde virus and protein called Sapersian

We found clear evidence of gene expression, many of which are found in the early embryo and human germ cells, and also a subset of this gene expression in immune cells during infection. Fashut

When researchers identified antiviral coat proteins expressed in various contexts, they focused on a protein called suppressyn, because we already knew that a receptor called ASCT2the cellular entry point of a diverse group of viruses called retrograde viruses January They connect Sapersian protein They have shown a high level of gene expression in placentas and in the early stages of human embryo development.

They then performed experiments on cells from the human placenta, because the placenta is a common target for viruses.

As far as we know, the human placenta is a flat organ in the living body that is connected to the fetus by the umbilical cord. The placenta is attached to the uterine wall before delivery and during delivery, it comes out with the baby

Prevalence of retrograde virus in non-human animals

Cells were exposed to a retrograde D virus called RD114, which naturally infects domestic cats. Despite the fact that other human cell types that do not express sapersin can be easily infected, placental and embryonic stem cells were not infected. When researchers experimentally paired cells Sapersian evacuated, they became susceptible to RD114 infection. during Sapersian returned to the cells, they regained resistance.

Additionally, the researchers performed reverse experiments using an embryonic kidney cell line that is normally sensitive to RD114. That is, when researchers experimentally introduced sappersian into these cells, those cells also became resistant.

This study shows how a human protein of retroviral origin blocks a cellular receptor that is, in fact, the gateway to virus entry and infection for a wide range of retroviruses found in many non-human species.

Fashut said:

“In this way, prehistoric retroviruses integrated into the human genome provide a mechanism to protect the developing fetus against infection by related viruses.

“Future research will examine the antiviral activity of other proteins derived from this protective coat in the human genome.”

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