viruses hidden in human genome

Viruses are simple yet powerful forms of life. Compared to other living things, they can live and reproduce with their very small and simple genomes. To do these activities, they enter a cell (called the host cell for virus-occupied cells) and manipulate the host cell's mechanisms to create new viruses. The smallest virus species, such as retroviruses, go even further and put their genomes in the host cell genome in addition to entering the host cell. So they control the cell better.

Some of the inactive DNA in the human genome was found to be derived from viral DNA. Human endogenous retroviruses (HERV) are ancient viruses that have been deposited into the ancient human genome many years ago. For this reason, fossil viruses are another name for these viruses. Usually, over time, they lose some of their original DNA sequence due to mutations in the DNA sequence, but sometimes a whole gene encoding the viral proteins remains in the human genome. These genes were able to preserve their day-to-day existence. Because the genomes in human reproductive cells are settled and transferred to future generations.


Antivirus and Human Diseases

Today, ancient viruses make up 4-8% of a human genome. It is a difficult task to describe each HERV. Because the majority is rare. But in a new study, the DNA of 2,500 people from various ethnic groups was studied and there were 19 new viral DNA sequences in total. Most of these sequences were missing and only one was a complete sequence.

The effect of the fosil viral DNA sequence on the health has not been fully understood. Some experts say these sequences may be useful to humans, while other viral sequences are associated with autoimmune diseases and some types of cancer. In addition, HERV may have a role in the origin of complex psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia and autism.

We know some modern relatives of these viruses, such as HIV, although we do not yet know how antiviruses contribute to human diseases. HIV is a retrovirus that can enter white blood cells. Active infection leads to the loss of red blood cells, which makes the patients at risk for other types of infections. One of the difficulties associated with the treatment of HIV-infected patients is the ability of the virus to remain in the cell during sleep and be concealed from the body's immune system.

Researchers are now using a new CRISPR-Cas9 technique (a genomic manipulation technique) to excise the viral genome from infected white blood cells without damaging the human genome. As a result, they observed that cells survived HIV and that cells could protect themselves against other viral infections. As a result, gene manipulation is a promising treatment strategy for HIV.

Link Between Consciousness and Antique Viruses

According to two articles published in the Cell magazine, viruses have placed their genetic code in four limb organisms. A small part of this code is still active in the human brain today. This code acts like the same virus, packages itself with the help of viral proteins, and transfers it from one nerve cell to another. This small package of information can be a critical element of how nerve cells necessary for thinking will connect and reconnect with each other.

Shortly after a synapse activates, a viral gene called Arc is activated and the code is written as a molecule called RNA. It is the messenger of RNA DNA and genetic manipulation.

Following the instructions in the RNA encoded by the Arc gene, the nerve cells form capsids, which are virus-like envelopes. These envelopes allow genetic information to move safely between cells.

It is still unclear what this genetic information carried when you reach a new cell. But without this function, synapses are weak. Problems in the Arc gene are also found in autism and other atypical neural conditions. In addition, capsid derived from the Arc gene may play a role in diseases where a toxic protein such as Alzheimer's begins to spread to the brain.

Researchers think that Arc capsids are the best explanation for the ability of nerve cells to be reorganized according to environmental conditions and to exchange the necessary information. Scientists have also found that the Arc gene in humans is quite similar to the Arc genes in other four organelles. The fruit nectars and Arc genes in the wings are slightly different.

In a study with fruit flies, it was observed that fruit flies could be transferred to muscle cells from capsids synthesized from Arc gene in motor neurons. Thus, it became clear that there could be a link between the function of muscle cells and Arc genes in fruit flies.

Up until now, in gene therapy trials, viruses have been used as vehicles to transmit a genetic mutation-free copy of the cells. However, there is a risk of these immune system reactions to the virus against the body. To eliminate this risk, Arc capsids in gene transfer can be used in future gene therapy applications. Because under normal conditions the body will not react to this arc because it produces Arc capsid. Apart from this, the next step in the studies carried out up to now is to reveal the relationship of Arc genes with neural diseases and what is the genetic information passed on to other cells.
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