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[With thanks to Dr. Vallings for giving permission to post her summary on this website. Ed.]

Summary of IACFS/ME conference, September 22-25,2011, Ottawa, Canada

by Rosamund Vallings MB BS

The conference opened with the keynote speaker, Christine Kozak (Bethesda, USA), who discussed and clarified issues relating to “Gammaretroviruses of mice and their links to Prostate cancer and CFS/ME”. She described how MLVs cause leukaemias in mice, and penetrate right into the cell nucleus, and can be transmitted genomically. There are 3 categories: ectotropic, xenotropic and polytropic. The latter two are distributed widely in house mice species.

Xenotropic viruses have a wide range of hosts, and there are 5 functional variants of receptors. XMRV can replicate in some species of mice. Various host factors restrict XMRVs in mice, such as serum factors, receptor block, receptor variation, Apobec 3 and Fv1 (both of which can block viral replication at the reverse transcriptase stage) and tetherin at the budding stage.

Humans do not have Fv1, but have TRIM5αa retrovirus restriction factor. The conclusion was that MLVs and ERVs are found in house-mice worldwide. Receptor variants have evolved in mice carrying XMRVs. XMRV has a distinct host range. XMRV contributes to induced neoplastic diseases. Multiple host restriction factors limit virus transmission. Contamination may be the reason we see this virus in humans.