Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Virus weaves itself into the DNA transferred from parents to babies

04.09.2008
Effects of unique form of congenital infection unknown

Parents expect to pass on their eye or hair color, their knobby knees or their big feet to their children through their genes. But they don't expect to pass on viruses through those same genes.

New research from the University of Rochester Medical Center shows that some parents pass on the human herpes virus 6 (HHV-6) to their children because it is integrated into their chromosomes. This is the first time a virus has been shown to become part of the human DNA and then get passed to subsequent generations. This unique mode of congenital infection may be occurring in as many as 1 of every 116 newborns, and the long-term consequences for a child's development and immune system are unknown.

"At this point, we know very little about the implications of this type of infection, but the section of the chromosome into which the virus appears to integrate is important to the maintenance of normal immune function," said Caroline Breese Hall, M.D., professor of Pediatrics and Medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center, and author of the study which publishes in Pediatrics this month. "With further study, we hope to discern whether this type of infection affects children differently than children infected after birth."

HHV-6 causes roseola, an infection that is nearly universal by 3 years of age. The typical roseola syndrome produces several days and up to a week of a high fever and may have variable other symptoms including mild respiratory and gastrointestinal symptoms. With roseola, just as the fever breaks, the child may briefly develop a rash. A congenital infection of HHV-6 – or one that is present at birth – produces high levels of virus in the body but scientists (doctors) do not know whether it produces any developmental or immune system problems.

Some congenital infections can cause serious problems in fetuses. If a mother contracts cytomegalovirus (CMV) while pregnant, her fetus is at risk of hearing or vision loss, developmental disabilities and problems with the lungs, liver and spleen. Some of those health problems don't show up until months or years after birth. HHV-6 virus is a closely related virus to CMV, and the congenital infection rate of CMV is similar to that of congenital HHV-6 – about 1 percent. However, this research shows that a congenital HHV-6 infection differs greatly from a congenital CMV infection in that it is often integrated into the chromosomes of the baby rather than passed through the placenta.

"This is the first time a herpes virus has been recognized to integrate into the human genome. To think that it's actually a part of us – that's really fascinating," said Mary Caserta, M.D., associate professor of Pediatrics at the University of Rochester Medical Center and one of the paper's authors. "This opens up a whole new realm of exploration."

Of 254 children enrolled in this study between July 2003 and April 2007, 43 had congenital HHV-6 infections based on cord blood samples. Of 211 children without congenital infection, 42 were children who acquired an HHV-6 infection during the study. Of the infants who had congenital infections, 86 percent of them (37) had the virus integrated into their chromosomes. Only six of the congenitally infected babies were infected by the mother through the placenta .

Children who had integrated HHV-6 had higher levels of virus in the body than those who were infected through the placenta. HHV-6 DNA was found in the hair of one parent of all children with integrated virus with available parental samples (18 mothers and 11 fathers), which means the children acquired the integrated infections through their mother's egg or father's sperm at conception. The virus's DNA was not found in hair samples of parents of children who were infected after birth.

Heather Hare | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.urmc.rochester.edu

Further reports about: CMV Chromosome Cytomegalovirus DNA HHV-6 Infection Pediatric Virus genes immune system knobby knees

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht NYSCF researchers develop novel bioengineering technique for personalized bone grafts
18.07.2018 | New York Stem Cell Foundation

nachricht Pollen taxi for bacteria
18.07.2018 | Technische Universität München

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Machine-learning predicted a superhard and high-energy-density tungsten nitride

18.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

NYSCF researchers develop novel bioengineering technique for personalized bone grafts

18.07.2018 | Life Sciences

Why might reading make myopic?

18.07.2018 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>