Oct 11, 2005

Immune mechanisms in murine gammaherpesvirus-68 infection

Viral Immunology
Philip G Stevenson, Stacey Efstathiou


The murine gamma-herpesvirus-68 (MHV-68) is a relative of the Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) that infects mice. All these gamma-herpesviruses are subject to immune control, but limit the impact of this control through immune evasion. Molecular evasion mechanisms have been described in abundance. However, we can only speculate what EBV and KSHV immune evasion contributes to the viral lifecycle. With MHV-68, we can analyze in vivo the contribution of immunological and virological gene expression to pathogenesis. While the physiology of infection seems quite well conserved between these viruses, the pathologies associated with immune suppression are obviously very different. MHV-68 is therefore more suited to uncovering the basic biology of gamma-herpesvirus infection than to testing disease interventions. Nevertheless, it may make some useful predictions about effective strategies of vaccination and infection control. This review aims to outline our current state of knowledge and to highlight some limitations of the MHV-68 model as it stands, in the hope of stimulating constructive progress.

Mentioned in this Paper

Human herpesvirus 8
Pathogenic Aspects
Immune Evasion
Decreased Immunologic Activity [PE]
Antibodies, Viral

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