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Chen, Dong-Sheng; Wu, Yi-Quan; Zhang, Wei; Jiang, San-Jie; Chen, Shan-Ze (2016): Horizontal gene transfer events reshape the global landscape of arm race between viruses and homo sapiens. In: Scientific Reports, Vol. 6, 26934


Horizontal gene transfer (HGT) drives the evolution of recipient organism particularly if it provides a novel function which enhances the fitness or its adaption to the environment. Virus-host co-evolution is attractive for studying co-evolutionary processes, since viruses strictly replicate inside of the host cells and thus their evolution is inexorably tangled with host biology. HGT, as a mechanism of co-evolution between human and viruses, has been widely documented, however, the roles HGT play during the interaction between human and viruses are still in their infancy. In this study, we performed a comprehensive analysis on the genes horizontally transferred between viruses and their corresponding human hosts. Our study suggests that the HGT genes in human are predominantly enriched in immune related GO terms while viral HGT genes are tend to be encoded by viruses which promote the invasion of immune system of hosts. Based on our results, it gives us a hint about the evolution trajectory of HGT events. Overall, our study suggests that the HGT between human and viruses are highly relevant to immune interaction and probably reshaped the arm race between hosts and viruses.