The endogenous guys are also berry sneaky. While they are no longer completely functional they still can transcribe-->translate a superantigen. Its a viral protein, but because it is expressed before the immune system matures, the immune system recognizes the viral protein as 'self.' That means that all the T-cells that would kill an MMTV infected cell are killed, like all T-cells that recognize 'self' proteins. Mice basically lose an arm of their immune system.
Remember the classes of T-Cell Receptors I was talking about with the possums? Endogenous MMTVs (and the infection of pups before their immune system matures) can cause the loss of all T-cells that have certain Variable Beta chains. This deletion increase the mouses susceptibility to new MMTV infections, and also increases susceptibility to other pathogens, like cholera. Yup-- A virus screwing around with how well you can fight off bacteria.
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
How endogenous retroviruses fuck up the immune-system
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