Skip to main content

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
Closed for submissions: 
January 2021

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

  1. 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

    Content type: Research

    Published on:

  2. 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

    Content type: Research

    Published on:

  3. 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

    Content type: Research

    Published on:

  4. 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

    Content type: Research

    Published on:

  5. 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

    Content type: Research

    Published on:

  6. 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

    Content type: Short report

    Published on:

  7. 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

    Content type: Research

    Published on:

  8. 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

    Content type: Research

    Published on:

  9. 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

    Content type: Review

    Published on:

  10. 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

    Content type: Research

    Published on:

  11. 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

    Content type: Research

    Published on:

  12. 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

    Content type: Research

    Published on:

  13. 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

    Content type: Review

    Published on:

  14. 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

    Content type: Research

    Published on:

  15. 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

    Content type: Research

    Published on:

  16. 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

    Content type: Research

    Published on:

  17. 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

    Content type: Research

    Published on:

  18. 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

    Content type: Review

    Published on:

  19. 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

    Content type: Review

    Published on:

  20. 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

    Content type: Review

    Published on: