Herpes Viruses and Tumors Evolved to Learn How to Manipulate the Same Ancient RNA
Herpes viral infections use the ancient genetic material found in the human genome to proliferate, mimicking the same process tumors have been found to manipulate, Mount Sinai researchers have shown for the first time. These observations provide further insight about how herpes viruses can manipulate the immune system in ways that may drive neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's, according to the study, published in Nature Communications in January. "The evolution of tumors can teach us about viruses and vice versa, and understanding one system may help us treat the other," said one of the study's senior authors, Benjamin Greenbaum, PhD, assistant professor of oncological sciences, pathology, medicine, hematology and medical oncology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. "The HSATII RNA induction seen in herpes infections and cancer cells suggests possible convergence upon common mechanisms in these seemingly disparate diseases." The study potentially gives further insight into how herpes viruses might play a role in developing colitis and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's.
— Benjamin Greenbaum, PhD, Assistant Professor, Oncological Sciences, Pathology, Medicine, Hematology and Medical Oncology, The Tisch Cancer Institute, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai