1. Evolutionary Biology
  2. Microbiology and Infectious Disease
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Virology: Pushing the envelope

  1. Julia H Wildschutte
  2. John M Coffin  Is a corresponding author
  1. Bowling Green State University, United States
  2. Tufts University, United States
Cite this article as: eLife 2017;6:e26397 doi: 10.7554/eLife.26397
1 figure


Co-option of a viral protein for receptor interference.

Left: Cells expressing MCT1 (blue), which is the receptor for a retrovirus called HERV-T, are susceptible to infection from a virus that encodes a surface envelope protein produced by an ancestral form of HERV-T (red). Right: Our genome contains proviruses – copies of the DNA of ancient retroviruses, including HERV-T. Blanco-Melo et al. found that human cells can still produce envelope proteins from their copy of the env gene of the HERV-T provirus. These envelope proteins protect the cells from the resurrected virus by blocking the MCT1 receptors directly, or through the degradation of the resulting receptor-protein complex.

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