Peter Holst Group – HERV Immune metabolism and immunization

The group focuses on endogenous retroviruses from human and model organisms as key players in metabolic stress and the application of the immune to eliminate harmful cells expressing pathogenic genes of retroviral origin.

The group focuses on the aberrant expression of endogenous retroviruses following cellular stress of various kind. Endogenous retroviruses are remnants of ancient viral infections into the germ line of our ancestors and approximately 8% of the human genome have direct retroviral origin. All human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs) carry deleterious mutations, but many individual genes and replicative elements are intact. In healthy cells these are repressed but during cell stress they become reactivated and serves to facilitate inflammation needed for resolution of damage. In health, the lifespan of cells expressing such genes is short, but in pathogenic processes, they may persist causing chronic , which is an integral part of the metabolic syndrome and associated diseases such as diabetes. Our team focusing on stimulating the immune system to rapidly eliminate HERV expressing cells and restore healthy metabolism. 


The team works with cell and animal models of diabetes and metabolic stress (betacell cultures, streptozotozin and high-fat diet induced diabetes), immunization technologies (adenovirus and mRNA vaccines) and models of humanization (human cells transplanted into mice) thereby facilitating modelling the interaction between metabolism and both model and HERV targeting in vivo. 


Curing Type 2 Diabetes through Senolytic Immunotherapy (start date January 1st 2024).


Group leader Peter Johannes Holst

Group Leader

Peter Johannes Holst
Associate Professor
Mobile+45 23649587

ORCID: 0000-0002-1279-304X

Group members

Name Title Phone E-mail