Monday, January 23, 2017

Viruses and Brain Development

Who would've known that something considered acellular and is debated within the biological science community whether or not its living may have contributed to the development of the human brain 35 to 45 million years ago along with impacting gene expression.

Johan Jakobsson and his colleagues at Lund University have been working with a specific group of retrovirus known as endogenous retrovirus (ERV). An amazing fact is that the human gene only accounts up to 2% of the total genome while ERV can account for up 10% of the total genome. The unique thing about the ERV is the attractive force it has with the TRIM28 protein. Once the TRIM28 protein "docks" onto the ERV it has influence on any genes located by the ERV to be activated or turned off. The TRIM28 protein may also turn off the ERV itself.

In my opinion I believe with continuous studies on how ERV affects gene expression, neurological disease, and brain development may lead to new methods on treating or preventing neurological diseases such as ALS, Schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder.

1 comment:

  1. Hi,
    I really find your post interesting because I was introduced to the ERV retrovirus in a previous course but we never covered in details. Thanks to your post, I will read some more on it