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The healthy human virome: from virus–host symbiosis to disease

Abstract : Viruses are ubiquitous, essential components of any ecosystem, and of multicellular organism holobionts. Numerous viruses cause acute infection, killing the host or being cleared by immune system. In many other cases, viruses coexist with the host as symbionts, either temporarily or for the duration of the host's life. Apparently, virus-host relationships span the entire range from aggressive parasitism to mutualism. Here we attempt to delineate the healthy human virome, that is, the entirety of viruses that are present in a healthy human body. The bulk of the healthy virome consists of bacteriophages infecting bacteria in the intestine and other locations. However, a variety of viruses, such as anelloviruses and herpesviruses, and the numerous endogenous retroviruses, persist by replicating in human cells, and these are our primary focus. Crucially, the boundary between symbiotic and pathogenic viruses is fluid such that members of the healthy virome can become pathogens under changing conditions.
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Eugene V Koonin, Valerian Dolja, Mart Krupovic. The healthy human virome: from virus–host symbiosis to disease. Current Opinion in Virology, Elsevier, 2021, This review comes from a themed issue on The virome in health and disease, 47, pp.86-94. ⟨10.1016/j.coviro.2021.02.002⟩. ⟨pasteur-03165430⟩

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