When the research team led by Benedikt Kaufer attempted to shed light on the mechanism behind HHV-6 integration, they were suprised to find telomeric repeats were critical to the integration process. Since the U94 gene shares homology and biological properties with the adenovirus Rep68 gene responsible for viral integration into human chromosomes, U94 was considered the most likely candidate to mediate HHV-6 integration.
A group led by Yasuko Mori in Japan has analyzed the crystal structure of HHV-6B U14, an important accomplishment for the understanding of HHV-6. Human herpesvirus 6B encodes numerous tegument proteins that make up the viral matrix. One of these tegument proteins is U14. In addition to being necessary for viral propagation, it is able to regulate host cell responses by interacting with host factors such as tumor suppressor p53.
Nicola Royle’s laboratory at the University of Leicester in the UK has reported that a ciHHV-6A patient with an HHV-8-negative primary effusion-like lymphoma had fully integrated genomes in the blood, but lost the integration in the tumor. Did the release of HHV-6A genomes play a role in tumor formation?
An interview with head researcher Nicola Royle, PhD: Should transplant patients & donors be screened?