The pathogenic potential of endogenous retroviruses: facts and fantasies

Trends Microbiol. 1999 Sep;7(9):350-6. doi: 10.1016/s0966-842x(99)01565-6.


Endogenous retroviruses are descendants of viruses that became cellular genes by integration into their host's genome. They still contribute to pathogenicity as a partner in recombination events, by de novo insertion after mobilization followed by activation of downstream proto-oncogenes, or by gene disruption. Re-expression of viral proteins accompanied by loss of immune tolerance could induce immune disturbances.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Endogenous Retroviruses / genetics
  • Endogenous Retroviruses / pathogenicity*
  • Gene Deletion
  • Humans
  • Mutagenesis, Insertional
  • Rats
  • Recombination, Genetic
  • Retroviridae Infections / virology*
  • Virulence