Monday, July 16, 2012

Retroviral gene expression in multiple sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a devastating illness with no known cause or cure. Recently, Laska et al. revealed that onset of the illness appears to increase expression of a specific retrovirus, HERV-Fc1, that belongs to the HERV-H/F family.

The study included investigating expression of certain components of HERV-Fc1 by qRT-PCR. During the studies, standards for various expressed transcripts of the virus were generated using the Durascribe® T7 Transcription Kit. The Durascribe Kit synthesizes RNA that contains 2'-fluorouracil and 2'-fluorocytidine, rendering transcripts resistant to degradation by ribonucleases A, B, and C. The standards were used as controls to determine the extracellular HERV-Fc1 RNA load in normal and MS individuals. The analysis showed that the expression of a capsid (gag) protein of HERV-H/F was significantly increased in CD4+ (P <0.001) and CD8+ (P <0.001) T lymphocytes, and in monocytes (P = 0.0356) from MS patients with active disease.

The importance of T cells in MS induction and further progression has been well documented. The methods developed in this study will enable further investigation of differential expression of endogenous retroviral markers in HERV-Fc1 biology related to MS, and possibly other autoimmune disorders.

ResearchBlogging.orgLaska MJ et al (2012). Expression of HERV-Fc1, a human endogenous retrovirus, is increased in patients with active multiple sclerosis. Journal of virology, 86 (7), 3713-22 PMID: 22278236

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