Friend retrovirus studies reveal complex interactions between intrinsic, innate and adaptive immunity


Approximately 4.4% of the human genome is comprised of endogenous retroviral sequences, a record of an evolutionary battle between man and retroviruses. Much of what we know about viral immunity comes from studies using mouse models. Experiments using the Friend virus (FV) model have been particularly informative in defining highly complex anti-retroviral mechanisms of the intrinsic, innate and adaptive arms of immunity. FV studies have unraveled fundamental principles about how the immune system controls both acute and chronic viral infections. They led to a more complete understanding of retroviral immunity that begins with cellular sensing, production of type 1 interferons, and the induction of intrinsic restriction factors. Novel mechanisms have been revealed, which demonstrate that these earliest responses affect not only virus replication, but also subsequent innate and adaptive immunity. This review on FV immunity not only surveys the complex host responses to a retroviral infection from acute infection to chronicity, but also highlights the many feed-back mechanisms that regulate and counter-regulate the various arms of the immune system. In addition, the discovery of molecular mechanisms of immunity in this model have led to therapeutic interventions with implications for HIV cure and vaccine development.

Journal details

Volume 43
Issue number 5
Pages 435-456
Available online
Publication date

Crick authors

Crick First author
Crick Corresponding author