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Retrovirus in the human genome is active in pluripotent stem cells
Date:1/23/2013

ciently reprogrammed to pluripotency, had lower levels of the HERV-H RNA, another indication that HERV-H may be an important marker for pluripotency.

Interestingly, the HERV-H genes that were expressed in human pluripotent stem cells are only found in the human and chimpanzee genomes, indicating that HERV-H infected a relatively recent ancestor to humans, said Luban.

"Once upon a time HERV-H was an invader to our genome and perhaps caused diseases like AIDS or cancer," said Luban. "Now it seems that a kind of dtente has been reached. Not only that, but this ancient invader may one day be exploited by clinicians to cure people of a wide range of diseases using stem cell therapies."

Luban and colleagues will next try to determine the specific mechanisms by which HERV-H contributes to pluripotency.


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Contact: Jim Fessenden
james.fessenden@umassmed.edu
508-856-2600
University of Massachusetts Medical School
Source:Eurekalert

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