[Envelope capture by retroviruses]

Kim, F. J.; Manel, N.; Battini, J. L.; Sitbon, M.

Med Sci (Paris)

2004-10 / vol 20 / pages 876-81


Retroelement transposition is a major source of diversity in genome evolution. Among the retrotransposable elements, the retroviruses are distinct in that their « transposition » extends from their initial host cells to neighboring cells and organisms. A determining step in the conversion of a retrotransposable element into an infectious retrovirus is the acquisition of an envelope glycoprotein, designated Env. Here, we review some examples of envelope « capture » by mammal retroviruses and provide evidence for such a mechanism by HTLV. This phenomenon may explain the notable conservation of env genes observed between phylogenetically distant retroviruses. Elucidation of these recombination processes should help to clarify retroviral phylogeny, better understand retroviral pathogenesis, and may lead to the identification of new retroelements.

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Humans; Animals; Retroviridae/*genetics; *Genes, env; Genome, Viral; Retroelements/genetics; Retroviridae Infections/*physiopathology; Viral Envelope Proteins/*genetics

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