XMRV at Cold Spring Harbor

7 May 2010

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) is a private, non-profit institution located in the eponymous town on Long Island, New York. Over 400 scientists work there on a wide range of biological problems, including cancer, neurobiology, plant genetics, and genomics. CSHL has a storied research history, having hosted nine Nobel Laureates. But it is also well known for its world class scientific conferences. The first of these was the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Symposium on Quantitative Biology, which was held in 1934. Another well known event is the Phage Course, founded by Salvador Luria and Max Delbrück in 1948. There are now over 24 meetings held annually. One of these is the meeting on retroviruses, which will begin on 24 May 2010. Below is a list of the presentations about XMRV, the new retrovirus implicated in prostate cancer and chronic fatigue syndrome. The author presenting each study can be found at the meeting website.

  • Failure to detect XMRV in human prostate tumors
  • Development of a multiplex serological assay to detect XMRV antibodies
  • Characterization of cellular determinants required for infection of XMRV, a novel retrovirus associated with human familial prostate cancer
  • Screening mouse genomes For XMRV-Like Elements
  • Development of highly sensitive assays for the detection of XMRV nucleic acids in clinical samples
  • Compounds that inhibit replication of XMRV, a virus implicated in prostate cancer and chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Investigation of XMRV as a human pathogen
  • Investigations into XMLV-related virus infection
  • XMRV is not detected in Quebec patients with chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Wild-derived mouse strain (Mus pahari) as a small animal model for XMRV infection
  • XMRV tropism in hematopoietic cells
  • Evidence for sequence variation in XMRV
  • The human retrovirus XMRV produces rare transformation events in cell culture but does not have direct transforming activity
  • The XMRV is inhibited by APOBEC3 proteins and anti-HIV-1 drugs
  • Immune responses in XMRV-infected rhesus macaques—Serological markers of XMRV infection
  • XMRV Is inhibited by interferon independently of RNase L or Tetherin
  • Comparison of XMRV infections in humans and rhesus macaques
  • Susceptibility of XMRV to antiretroviral inhibitors
  • Integration site analysis in XMRV-positive prostate cancers
  • Xpr1 is necessary but not sufficient for XMRV entry
  • Effects of interferon regulated proteins, RNase L and APOBEC3G, on XMRV replication

The retrovirus community has clearly embraced XMRV, a virus discovered just four years ago. This high level of activity means that there will be many papers on XMRV in the scientific literature in the next year. I’m looking forward to discussing them with the readers of virology blog.

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  • sarah F

    If the 'rhesus macaques' have become ill with CFS, surely we have our answer?

  • R Thompson
  • http://www.virology.ws profvrr

    So far the macaques have been infected with XMRV and sacrificed to determine where the virus replicates. A description of these experiments is at http://www.retroconference.org/2010/Abstracts/3…. It will clearly be important to determine whether XMRV induces symptoms similar to CFS in these animals.

  • krakow

    If the WPI's numbers are right, only a small portion of those suffering from an XMRV infection develop CFS, so that could mean that not many animals would either. Unless others are able to replicate their results though, it's something of a moot point.

  • http://www.virology.ws profvrr

    That's correct. But what happens in people is not always the same as
    what happens in animals. I spent years developing and studying a mouse
    model for polio. In humans, 1% of those infected develop paralysis. In
    mice, the number is 100%. That's why they are called animal models for
    human diseases.

  • linda

    there is a patient on a message board who says 4 patients out of jolicoeur's study tested XMRV+.