Category Archives: Virology

Human papillomavirus and the cell cycle

Human papillomaviruses (HPVs) are DNA viruses associated with major human cancers. As such there is a strong interest in developing new means, such as vaccines and microbicides, to prevent HPV infections. Developing the latter requires a better understanding of the … Continue reading

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Are viruses alive?

One of my sons asked me this question a few days ago. I said no, but I’m happy that others agree with me: Ten reasons to exclude viruses from the tree of life. 2009 Nature Reviews Microbiology 7: 306-311 When … Continue reading

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Genomic fossils in lemurs shed light on HIV

Lentiviruses are mammalian retroviruses known to infect cattle, cats, horses, sheep, and primates. They are the focus of intense study due to their causative association with AIDS in human. Although our knowledge on the origin and early evolution of HIV … Continue reading

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Protein kinase R, RNA helicase A and virus infection

PKR is a sentinel kinase constitutively expressed in all cells as an inactive protein that is subsequently activated by virus RNA produced during an infection. The active kinase perturbs virus replication by phosphorylating protein substrates in the cell. RNA helicase … Continue reading

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Viruses and diabetes

In the last week there has been some fairly wild speculation in the media about viruses which “cause” diabetes. The fuss came from the publication of a paper which claimed to have detected virus proteins in the pancreases of diabetes … Continue reading

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More on MMR and autism

Related: Vaccination does not cause autism MMR: our children, our choice?

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Modulation of the immune system by Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus

Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS) is a multifocal tumour only found in a few groups of people, including elderly Mediterranean men, individuals in Africa and patients with immune disorders. The tumours arise from the formation of new blood or lymphatic vessels (angiogenesis … Continue reading

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50 years of Burkitt's lymphoma

Burkitt’s lymphoma (BL) was first described 50 years ago, and the first human tumour virus Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) was discovered in BL tumours soon after. Since then, the role of EBV in the development of BL has become more and … Continue reading

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Bugs Against Biofilms

A recent paper in Trends in Microbiology examined the possibilities for using bacteriophages in controlling biofilms which might result in healthcare-associated infections (Preventing biofilms of clinically relevant organisms using bacteriophage. 2009 Trends in Microbiology 17: 66-72). Biofilms are firmly attached … Continue reading

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