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Retrovirology. 2010 Feb 4;7:8. doi: 10.1186/1742-4690-7-8.

Hematopoietic stem cells and retroviral infection.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, SUNY Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, NY 13210, USA.


Retroviral induced malignancies serve as ideal models to help us better understand the molecular mechanisms associated with the initiation and progression of leukemogenesis. Numerous retroviruses including AEV, FLV, M-MuLV and HTLV-1 have the ability to infect hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells, resulting in the deregulation of normal hematopoiesis and the development of leukemia/lymphoma. Research over the last few decades has elucidated similarities between retroviral-induced leukemogenesis, initiated by deregulation of innate hematopoietic stem cell traits, and the cancer stem cell hypothesis. Ongoing research in some of these models may provide a better understanding of the processes of normal hematopoiesis and cancer stem cells. Research on retroviral induced leukemias and lymphomas may identify the molecular events which trigger the initial cellular transformation and subsequent maintenance of hematologic malignancies, including the generation of cancer stem cells. This review focuses on the role of retroviral infection in hematopoietic stem cells and the initiation, maintenance and progression of hematological malignancies.

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