Relationships between viruses and their human host are traditionally described from the point of view taking into consideration hosts as victims of viral aggression, which results in infectious diseases. However, these relations are in fact two-sided and involve modifications of both the virus and host genomes. Mutations that accumulate in the populations of viruses and hosts may provide them advantages such as the ability to overcome defense barriers of host cells or to create more efficient barriers to deal with the attack of the viral agent. One of the most common ways of reinforcing anti-viral barriers is the horizontal transfer of viral genes into the host genome. Within the host genome, these genes may be modified and extensively expressed to compete with viral copies and inhibit the synthesis of their products or modulate their functions in other ways. This review summarizes the available data on the horizontal gene transfer between viral and human genomes and discusses related problems.
Keywords: Virus; cell receptor; horizontal gene transfer.