Tackling Human LINE-1 Reverse Transcriptase

December 14, 2023

Molecular structures and functions of the human LINE-1 Reverse Transcriptase (a.k.a. L1ORF2p) have now been unraveled in a massive international collaboration of groups from academia and industry, including the group of Oliver Weichenrieder from the Max Planck Institute for Biology in Tübingen. The results have been published in Nature today.

L1ORF2p has generated more than a third of the human genome sequence and is an emerging therapeutic target. It copies RNA into DNA sequences and inserts them into chromosomes, a process known as insertional mutagenesis. Moreover, if activated in the cytoplasm, L1ORF2p can cause an autoimmune response. The present work now paves the way towards specific LINE-1 inhibitors for possible treatments of autoimmunity, neurodegeneration, cancer and other disease.

See here for a short animation of LINE-1's mechanism of action.
(Animation by Visual Science, 2023, and published by Baldwin et al. in Nature)


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