Saturday, November 12, 2011

Acronym in virology: XMRV for xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus

XMRV stands for xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus. XMRV is a gammaretrovirus that has been linked to prostate cancer and chronic fatigue syndrome. But such links are still hotly debated or ruled out [1-3].

Indicated by its name, XMRV belongs to the group of murine leukemia viruses (MLVs). XMRV is called MLV-related, since, when it was first found in samples of prostate cancer tumors from human patients, it  seemed to be a cousin of MLVs known to cause cancer in murine (mouse) host. Wouldn't an acronym like XMLVRV or xMLVrV fit better? The adjective xenotropic indicates that XMRV is an oncornavirus (a virus containing single-stranded RNA) that does not produce disease in its natural host and replicates only in tissue culture cells derived from a different species [4].

Taxonomically, XMRV falls into class VI of the Baltimore Classification System.

Keywords: retrovirology, mysterious diseases, virus nomenclature, taxon short notation

References and more to explore
[1] O. Hohn et al.: Lack of evidence for xenotropic leukemia virus-related virus (XMRV) in German prostate cancer patients. Retrovirology 2009, 6, 92.
doi: 10.1186/1742-4690-6-92.
[2] J. Cohen and M. Enserink: False Posi±ive. Science September 23, 2011, 333 (6050),  pp. 1694-1701.
doi: 10.1126/science.333.6050.1694.
[3] G. Simmins et al.: Failure to Confirm XMRV/MLVs in the Blood of Patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: A Multi-Laboratory Study. Science November 11, 2011, 334 (6057), pp. 814-817.doi: 10.1126/science.1213841.
[4] Xenotropic virus:

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