Massive peptide sharing between viral and human proteomes

Peptides. 2008 Oct;29(10):1755-66. doi: 10.1016/j.peptides.2008.05.022. Epub 2008 Jun 5.


Thirty viral proteomes were examined for amino acid sequence similarity to the human proteome, and, in parallel, a control of 30 sets of human proteins was analyzed for internal human overlapping. We find that all of the analyzed 30 viral proteomes, independently of their structural or pathogenic characteristics, present a high number of pentapeptide overlaps to the human proteome. Among the examined viruses, human T-lymphotropic virus 1, Rubella virus, and hepatitis C virus present the highest number of viral overlaps to the human proteome. The widespread and ample distribution of viral amino acid sequences through the human proteome indicates that viral and human proteins are formed of common peptide backbone units and suggests a fluid compositional chimerism in phylogenetic entities canonically classified distantly as viruses and Homo sapiens. Importantly, the massive viral to human peptide overlapping calls into question the possibility of a direct causal association between virus-host sharing of amino acid sequences and incitement to autoimmune reactions through molecular recognition of common motifs.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Databases, Protein
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Peptides / genetics*
  • Peptides / metabolism
  • Proteome*
  • Viral Proteins / genetics*
  • Viral Proteins / metabolism


  • Peptides
  • Proteome
  • Viral Proteins