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The Laboratory of Molecular Virology is studying the role played by epigenetic modifications (histone acetylation, histone methylation and DNA methylation) in transriptional latency and reactivation from latency of three retroviruses : HIV-1 (Human Immunodeficiency Virus type 1), HTLV-I (Human T-cell leukemia virus I) and BLV (Bovine Leukemia Virus).Infection by these retroviruses is characterized by viral latency in the large majority of infected cells and by the absence of viremia (in the cases of HTLV-I and BLV). These features are thought to be due to the transcriptional repression of viral expression in vivo, but the molecular mechanisms involved in such a repression are not fully elucidated. The epigenetic modifications could be one mechanism by which these viruses escape the host immune response and, in the case of HTLV-I/BLV, allow tumor development.
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