Eukaryotic genomes contain numerous copies of endogenous viral elements (EVEs), most of which are considered endogenous retrovirus (ERV) sequences. Over the past decade, non-retroviral endogenous viral elements (nrEVEs) derived from ancient RNA viruses have been discovered. Several functions have been proposed for these elements, including antiviral defense. This review summarizes the current understanding of nrEVEs derived from RNA viruses, particularly endogenous bornavirus-like elements (EBLs) and endogenous filovirus-like elements (EFLs). EBLs are one of the most extensively studied nrEVEs. The EBL derived from bornavirus nucleoprotein (EBLN) is thought to function as a non-coding RNA or protein that regulates host gene expression or inhibits virus propagation. Ebolavirus and marburgvirus, which are filoviruses, induce severe hemorrhagic fever in humans and nonhuman primates. Although the ecology of filoviruses remains unclear, bats are believed to be potential reservoirs. Based on the knowledge from EBLs, it is postulated that EFLs in the bat genome help to maintain the balance between filovirus infection and the bat's defense system, which may partially explain why bats act as potential reservoirs. Further research into the functions of nrEVEs could reveal novel antiviral systems and inspire novel antiviral approaches.
- Antiviral Agents/pharmacology