Shaping of immunity by endogenous retroelements
Despite eliciting host immunity, several viruses establish chronic, often life-long infection in humans that can affect immune function. The ultimate form of parasitism and evasion of host immunity is for the virus genome to enter the germ line of the host. Retroviruses have invaded the host germ line on the grandest scale, and this is evident in the extraordinary abundance of endogenous retroelements in the genome of all vertebrate species that have been studied. Recent studies suggests that such viral endogenisation events continue to shape host immunity over long evolutionary times and through diverse mechanisms, including triggering host innate and adaptive immune responses or regulating immune gene expression or function. Although recent integrations may be more detrimental to host immunity, evidence will be presented that integrations acquired millions of years ago were positively selected and continue to shape host immunity in humans.
PhD, Senior Group Leader
Retroviral Immunology, The Francis Crick Institute, London, UK
Domain 3 - U932 - Immunity and Cancer