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Transcriptional landscape of human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs) and other repetitive elements in psoriatic skin

Lättekivi, F., Kõks, S., Keermann, M., Reimann, E., Prans, E., Abram, K., Silm, H., Kõks, G. and Kingo, K. (2018) Transcriptional landscape of human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs) and other repetitive elements in psoriatic skin. Scientific Reports, 8 (1).

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Human endogenous retrovirus (HERV) sequences make up at least 8% of the human genome. Transcripts originating from these loci as well as proteins encoded by them have been detected in various tissues. HERVs are believed to be implicated in autoimmune diseases, however the extent to which, has remained unclear. Differential expression studies have so far been limited to certain HERV subfamilies with conserved sequences. No studies have been published describing the genome-wide expression pattern of HERVs and repetitive elements in the context of psoriasis. In the present study, we analysed total RNA sequencing data from skin samples of 12 psoriasis patients and 12 healthy controls, which enabled us to describe the entire transcriptional landscape of repetitive elements. We report high levels of repetitive element expression in the skin of psoriasis patients as well as healthy controls. The majority of differentially expressed elements were downregulated in lesional and non-lesional skin, suggesting active HERV suppression in the pro-inflammatory environment of psoriatic skin. However, we also report upregulation of a small subset of HERVs previously described in the context of autoimmune diseases, such as members of the HERV-K and W families, with the potential to affect the immunopathogenesis of psoriasis.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Springer Nature
Copyright: © 2019 Springer Nature Publishing AG
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