New Retrovirus Sequence Found in Psoriasis Lesions
Title: A new endogenous retroviral sequence
is expressed in skin of patients with psoriasis.
Authors: Moles JP, et al.
Publication: Br J Dermatol. 2005 Jul;153(1):83-9.
Human endogenous retroviruses (HERV) are a part of normal human
genetic code or genome. Their roles in the development of various
human diseases with complex genetic traits, including psoriasis,
have been proposed.
The authors wanted to determine whether human endogenous retroviruses
are expressed in psoriatic skin lesion. To do this, they analyzed
the genetic sequence of patients with psoriasis and atopic dermatitis,
as well as healthy control subjects.
They found that 3 HERV families in psoriatic lesions, namely
HERV-W, HERV-K, and HERV-E. The author also found a new endogenous
retrovirus variant, related to ERV-9/HERV-W family. Sequencing
of this new variant revealed possible sequences for gag protein
and retrovrial protease. The authors reported expression of this
sequence in 29 out of 43 (67%) psoriatic lesions, as compared
to 2 of 21 (9.5%) in normal skin and 3 out of 14 (21%) in atopic
dermatitis skin samples.
The authors concluded that in psoriatic lesions, HERV sequences
of the W, K, and E families of human endogenous retrovirus, as
well as a new variant of ERV-9/HERV-W are expressed. The authors
will next determine the possible role of HERV-related sequences
in the development of psoriasis.
Editor’s Note: Endogenous retroviruses are viruses
that have inserted themselves into the host’s genome. The
authors tested the expression of human endogenous retrovirus genes
by performing a reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction
or RT-PCR to detect the presence of mRNA or messenger RNA. mRNA
are produced from the gene’s DNA, and is a template used
to produce protein.
Gag protein serves as a structural part or shell of a retrovirus.
Retroviral protease is an enzyme that is involved in the formation
of new virus particles.