(ERV) ENVELOPES TO COVID-19 AND NEURODEGENERATION

April 26, 2021

TWOFOLD DEATH: THE ORGANISM, THE OFFSPRING AND THE CURIOUS RELATION OF PLACENTAL DISEASES, SYNCYTINS AND OTHER ENDOGENOUS RETROVIRAL (ERV) ENVELOPES TO COVID-19 AND NEURODEGENERATIVE DISEASE

Two major signs of placental disease are chronic hypoxia and trophoblast invasions. SARS-CoV-2 interacts with trophoblasts. Fusion, proliferation, angiogenesis, immune tolerance, and tissue survival are some of the critical functions involved in the physiological and pathological processes of placenta development. Strikingly, some of these properties are  shared by envelope glycoproteins of retroviruses. 

Syncytin-1 (the ERV protein) is involved in physiological processes not only in placenta but also in other organs, based on evidence of fusion/differentiation, immunomodulation, apoptosis, and proliferation properties. Altered states of this protein may contribute to human placenta pathologies, including Down syndrome, preeclampsia/hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, and low platelets syndrome/intrauterine growth restriction, and gestational trophoblastic diseases including mole and choriocarcinoma. 

This can all lead to pro-coagulator molecules being released into the blood stream causing action of the coagulator cascade, resulting in a “fetus attack." In addition to the heart (heart attack) or brain (stroke) being infarcted, the fetus may be as well. 

Diabetes Mellitus is a risk factor for this condition as is chronic high blood pressure. What is most remarkable is that, like COVID, being UNDERWEIGHT or OVERWEIGHT is a risk.

Another fascinating aspect of this protein is that it is involved with disease at the end of life. Neurodegeneration. The same ERV is implicated in MS, ALS and Alzheimer’s. 

Referenced/Related Papers

Diseases of the nERVous system: retrotransposon activity in neurodegenerative disease

https://mobilednajournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13100-019-0176-1

Paleovirology of ‘syncytins’, retroviral env genes exapted for a role in placentation

https://ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3758191/

Chapter Five – Contribution of Syncytins and Other Endogenous Retroviral Envelopes to Human Placenta Pathologies

https://sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1877117316301107

Placental disease

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Placental_disease

Potential SARS-CoV-2 interactions with proteins involved in trophoblast functions – An in-silico study

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7581362/