Virus genes and risk of MS

Nexø BA, Hansen B, Nissen KK, Gundestrup L, Terkelsen T, Villesen P, Bahrami S, Petersen T, Pedersen FS, Laska MJ. Restriction genes for retroviruses influence the risk of multiple sclerosis. PLoS One. 2013 Sep 16;8(9):e74063. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0074063.

We recently described that the autoimmune, central nervous system disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), is genetically associated with the human endogenous retroviral locus, HERV-Fc1, in Scandinavians. A number of dominant human genes encoding factors that restrict retrovirus replication have been known for a long time. Today human restriction genes for retroviruses include amongst others TRIMs, APOBEC3s, BST2 and TREXs. We have therefore looked for a role of these retroviral restriction genes in MS using genetic epidemiology. We here report that markers in two TRIMs, TRIM5 and TRIM22 and a marker in BST2, associated statistically with the risk of getting MS, while markers in or near APOBEC3s and TREXs showed little or no effect. This indicates that the two TRIMs and BST2 influence the risk of disease and thus supports the hypothesis of a viral involvement.

HIV is a type of retrovirus, HERVs are another type

Tripartite motif (TRIM) are retro viral inhibiotrs, Tetherin also known as bone marrow stromal antigen 2 is a lipid raft associatedprotein that in humans is encoded by the BST2 gene. Tetherin is a human cellular protein which inhibits retrovirus infection by preventing the diffusion of virus particles after budding from infected cells. These genes may be part of the MS risk and suggest that control of retorviral expression may be part of the MS process. The Charcot project aims to test the effect of a retro viral inhibitor on MS

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