Retrotransposition and herpesvirus evolution

P. Brunovskis, Hsing-Jien Kung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


One of the more interesting developments in herpesvirus evolution concerns the acquisition of novel, non-ubiquitous herpesvirus genes. A number of these are related to known cellular genes. How did herpesviruses acquire such genes? Our recent demonstration of retrovirus integration into herpesviruses suggests a potentially important role for retrotransposition in herpesvirus evolution and in the acquisition of novel genes, cellular in origin. Herpesvirus genome development has been characterized by a number of structural and evolutionary properties that support this proposal. We first discuss the evidence for retroviral integration into herpesviruses. The functional significance of this phenomenon is presently unclear. However, in the broader context of retrotransposition, a number of attractive features serve to explain the capture of structural and regulatory elements throughout herpesvirus evolution. These possibilities are discussed in detail.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)259-270
Number of pages12
JournalVirus Genes
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • Evolution
  • Gene capture
  • Herpesviruses
  • Retrotransposition
  • Retrovirus integration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Immunology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Genetics


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