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Endogenous Retroviruses in Evolution and Disease

Retroviruses are characterized by their replication strategy which entails a step in which the viral genome is integrated into that of the host cell. Because of this, retroviruses uniquely straddle the world of viruses and the world of mobile genetic elements. Retroviral 'genome invasions' - in which horizontally transmitted retroviruses evolved to become vertically inherited 'endogenous retroviruses' - have occurred repeatedly during evolution, and have profoundly influenced the evolution of animal genomes.
The hundreds of thousands of endogenous retrovirus sequences scattered throughout animal genomes are a rich source of information about the history of co-evolutionary interaction between retroviruses and their hosts. These sequences allow unique insight into the biology of ancient viruses and the mechanisms through which mobile elements influence genome evolution and disease.
This special collection is dedicated to endogenous retroviruses, featuring content from both Mobile DNA and Retrovirology, we have brought together recent research on this topic. We hope this will inspire new submissions to the collection that can provide further insights in to the role of endogenous retroviruses in evolution and disease. 

The Editors of Mobile DNA and Retrovirology extend an invitation to submit original research articles to add to this important and timely collection.

All manuscripts accepted from this Call for Papers will be included in a unique online article collection, further highlighting this important topic. The article collection will also include specially commissioned Review articles related to the topic.

Manuscripts will undergo normal peer review as they are received. Manuscripts will be published online, both to the Collection and on the website of the journal to which they were submitted, as they are accepted. 

Currently open for submissions

Submit an article to Mobile DNA.
Submit an article to Retrovirology.

  1. Bipolar disorder (BD) and schizophrenia (SZ) are the two main mental disorders with unknown etiology that significantly impact individuals’ quality of life. The potential pro-inflammatory role in their pathoge...

    Authors: Sara Coelho Rangel, Michelly Damasceno da Silva, Décio Gilberto Natrielli Filho, Samuel Nascimento Santos, Jonatas Bussador do Amaral, Jefferson Russo Victor, Kevin Cezar Nascimento Silva, Izabela Dorota Tuleta, Carolina Nunes França, Marina Tiemi Shio, Lucas Melo Neves, André Luis Lacerda Bachi and Luiz Henrique da Silva Nali
    Citation: Retrovirology 2024 21:7
  2. Human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs) are the remnants of ancient retroviral infections integrated into the human genome. Although most HERVs are silenced or rendered inactive by various regulatory mechanisms,...

    Authors: Boying Liang, Tengyue Yan, Huilin Wei, Die Zhang, Lanxiang Li, Zengjing Liu, Wen Li, Yuluan Zhang, Nili Jiang, Qiuxia Meng, Guiyang Jiang, Yanling Hu and Jing Leng
    Citation: Retrovirology 2024 21:4
  3. PIWI-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) are responsible for preventing the movement of transposable elements in germ cells and protect the integrity of germline genomes. In this review, we examine the common elements o...

    Authors: Zuzana Loubalova, Parthena Konstantinidou and Astrid D. Haase
    Citation: Mobile DNA 2023 14:10
  4. Lentiviruses (genus Lentivirus) are complex retroviruses that infect a broad range of mammals, including humans. Unlike many other retrovirus genera, lentiviruses have only rarely been incorporated into the mamma...

    Authors: Roziah Kambol, Anna Gatseva and Robert J. Gifford
    Citation: Retrovirology 2022 19:30
  5. Krüppel Associated Box-containing Zinc Finger Proteins (KRAB-ZFPs), representing the largest superfamily of transcription factors in mammals, are predicted to primarily target and repress transposable elements...

    Authors: Yang Zhang, Fei He, Yanning Zhang, Qian Dai, Qintong Li, Jing Nan, Ruidong Miao and Bo Cheng
    Citation: Mobile DNA 2022 13:25
  6. Transposable elements (TEs) are repetitive sequences of viral origin that compose almost half of the human genome. These elements are tightly controlled within cells, and if activated, they can cause changes i...

    Authors: Mahboubeh R. Rostami and Martina Bradic
    Citation: Mobile DNA 2021 12:14
  7. Endogenous retroviruses (ERVs) are remnants of ancient retroviral infections of mammalian germline cells. A large proportion of ERVs lose their open reading frames (ORFs), while others retain them and become e...

    Authors: Mahoko Takahashi Ueda, Kirill Kryukov, Satomi Mitsuhashi, Hiroaki Mitsuhashi, Tadashi Imanishi and So Nakagawa
    Citation: Mobile DNA 2020 11:29
  8. Endogenous retroviruses (ERVs) are the remnants of retroviral infections which can elicit prolonged genomic and immunological stress on their host organism. In chickens, endogenous Avian Leukosis Virus subgrou...

    Authors: Andrew S. Mason, Ashlee R. Lund, Paul M. Hocking, Janet E. Fulton and David W. Burt
    Citation: Mobile DNA 2020 11:22
  9. Human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs), suspected to be transposition-defective, may reshape the transcriptional network of the human genome by regulatory elements distributed in their long terminal repeats (LT...

    Authors: Bei Xue, Tiansheng Zeng, Lisha Jia, Dongsheng Yang, Stanley L. Lin, Leonardo A. Sechi and David J. Kelvin
    Citation: Retrovirology 2020 17:10
  10. The cell-surface attachment protein (Env) of the HERV-K(HML-2) lineage of endogenous retroviruses is a potentially attractive tumour-associated antigen for anti-cancer immunotherapy. The human genome contains ...

    Authors: Witold Tatkiewicz, James Dickie, Franchesca Bedford, Alexander Jones, Mark Atkin, Michele Kiernan, Emmanuel Atangana Maze, Bora Agit, Garry Farnham, Alexander Kanapin and Robert Belshaw
    Citation: Mobile DNA 2020 11:9

    The Correction to this article has been published in Mobile DNA 2020 11:31

  11. Endogenous Retroviruses (ERVs) constitute approximately 8% of every human genome and are relics of ancestral infections that affected the germ line cells. The ERV-W group contributed to primate physiology by p...

    Authors: Nicole Grandi, Maria Paola Pisano, Martina Demurtas, Jonas Blomberg, Gkikas Magiorkinis, Jens Mayer and Enzo Tramontano
    Citation: Mobile DNA 2020 11:6
  12. The Deltaretrovirus genus of retroviruses (family Retroviridae) includes the human T cell leukemia viruses and bovine leukemia virus (BLV). Relatively little is known about the biology and evolution of these viru...

    Authors: Tomáš Hron, Daniel Elleder and Robert J. Gifford
    Citation: Retrovirology 2019 16:33
  13. Henny feathering in chickens is determined by a dominant mutation that transforms male-specific plumage to female-like plumage. Previous studies indicated that this phenotype is caused by ectopic expression in...

    Authors: Jingyi Li, Brian W. Davis, Patric Jern, Ben. J. Dorshorst, Paul B. Siegel and Leif Andersson
    Citation: Mobile DNA 2019 10:38
  14. A considerable portion of the human genome derives from retroviruses inherited over millions of years. Human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs) are usually severely mutated, yet some coding-competent HERVs exist....

    Authors: Giuseppe Rigogliuso, Martin L. Biniossek, John L. Goodier, Bettina Mayer, Gavin C. Pereira, Oliver Schilling, Eckart Meese and Jens Mayer
    Citation: Mobile DNA 2019 10:36
  15. Transposable element (TE) insertions are responsible for a significant fraction of spontaneous germ line mutations reported in inbred mouse strains. This major contribution of TEs to the mutational landscape i...

    Authors: Liane Gagnier, Victoria P. Belancio and Dixie L. Mager
    Citation: Mobile DNA 2019 10:15
  16. Vertebrate genomes contain a record of retroviruses that invaded the germlines of ancestral hosts and are passed to offspring as endogenous retroviruses (ERVs). ERVs can impact host function since they contain...

    Authors: Julia V. Halo, Amanda L. Pendleton, Abigail S. Jarosz, Robert J. Gifford, Malika L. Day and Jeffrey M. Kidd
    Citation: Retrovirology 2019 16:6
  17. The APOBEC3 (A3) family of DNA cytosine deaminases provides an innate barrier to infection by retroviruses including HIV-1. A total of five enzymes, A3C, A3D, A3F, A3G and A3H, are degraded by the viral access...

    Authors: Brett D. Anderson, Terumasa Ikeda, Seyed Arad Moghadasi, Amber St. Martin, William L. Brown and Reuben S. Harris
    Citation: Retrovirology 2018 15:78
  18. SAM domain and HD domain containing protein 1 (SAMHD1) is a host anti-HIV-1 restriction factor known to suppress viral reverse transcription in nondividing myeloid cells by its dNTP triphosphorylase activity t...

    Authors: Bijan Mahboubi, Christina Gavegnano, Dong-Hyun Kim, Raymond F. Schinazi and Baek Kim
    Citation: Retrovirology 2018 15:69
  19. Retroviral integration into germline DNA can result in the formation of a vertically inherited proviral sequence called an endogenous retrovirus (ERV). Over the course of their evolution, vertebrate genomes ha...

    Authors: Robert J. Gifford, Jonas Blomberg, John M. Coffin, Hung Fan, Thierry Heidmann, Jens Mayer, Jonathan Stoye, Michael Tristem and Welkin E. Johnson
    Citation: Retrovirology 2018 15:59
  20. Increased transcription of the human endogenous retrovirus group HERV-K (HML-2) is often seen during disease. Although the mechanism of its tissue-specific activation is unclear, research shows that LTR CpG hy...

    Authors: Meagan Montesion, Zachary H. Williams, Ravi P. Subramanian, Charlotte Kuperwasser and John M. Coffin
    Citation: Retrovirology 2018 15:57
  21. About half of the human genome is constituted of transposable elements, including human endogenous retroviruses (HERV). HERV sequences represent the 8% of our genetic material, deriving from exogenous infectio...

    Authors: Nicole Grandi, Marta Cadeddu, Maria Paola Pisano, Francesca Esposito, Jonas Blomberg and Enzo Tramontano
    Citation: Mobile DNA 2017 8:15
  22. Transposable elements (TEs) comprise ~10% of the chicken (Gallus gallus) genome. The content of TEs is much lower than that of mammalian genomes, where TEs comprise around half of the genome. Endogenous retroviru...

    Authors: Jinmin Lee, Seyoung Mun, Dong Hee Kim, Chun-Sung Cho, Dong-Yep Oh and Kyudong Han
    Citation: Mobile DNA 2017 8:2
  23. Human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs) constitute 8% of the human genome and contribute substantially to the transcriptome. HERVs have been shown to generate RNAs that modulate host gene expression. However, ex...

    Authors: Felix Broecker, Roger Horton, Jochen Heinrich, Alexandra Franz, Michal-Ruth Schweiger, Hans Lehrach and Karin Moelling
    Citation: Mobile DNA 2016 7:25
  24. Cancer arises from a series of genetic and epigenetic changes, which result in abnormal expression or mutational activation of oncogenes, as well as suppression/inactivation of tumor suppressor genes. Aberrant...

    Authors: Artem Babaian and Dixie L. Mager
    Citation: Mobile DNA 2016 7:24
  25. Retrotransposons have generated about 40 % of the human genome. This review examines the strategies the cell has evolved to coexist with these genomic “parasites”, focussing on the non-long terminal repeat ret...

    Authors: John L. Goodier
    Citation: Mobile DNA 2016 7:16
  26. Tandem C2H2-type zinc finger proteins (ZFPs) constitute the largest transcription factor family in animals. Tandem-ZFPs bind DNA in a sequence-specific manner through arrays of multiple zinc finger domains tha...

    Authors: Gernot Wolf, David Greenberg and Todd S. Macfarlan
    Citation: Mobile DNA 2015 6:17