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22.04.2019 | Review | Ausgabe 3-4/2019

Medical Microbiology and Immunology 3-4/2019

Cellular reservoirs of latent cytomegaloviruses

Medical Microbiology and Immunology > Ausgabe 3-4/2019
Matthias J. Reddehase, Niels A. W. Lemmermann
Wichtige Hinweise
Edited by: Sebastian Voigt.
This article is part of the Special Issue on Immunological Imprinting during Chronic Viral Infection.

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Cytomegaloviruses (CMVs), members of the β-subfamily of the herpesvirus family, have co-speciated with their respective mammalian hosts resulting in a mutual virus–host adaptation reflected by sets of ‘private’ viral genes that a particular CMV species does not share with other CMVs and that define the host-species specificity of CMVs. Nonetheless, based on “biological convergence” in evolution, fundamental rules in viral pathogenesis and immune control are functionally analogous between different virus–host pairs. Therefore, the mouse model of infection with murine CMV (mCMV) has revealed generally valid principles of CMV–host interactions. Specifically, the mouse model has paved the way to cellular immunotherapy of CMV disease in immunocompromised recipients of hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT). Precisely in the context of HCT, however, current view assumes that there exists a major difference between hCMV and mCMV regarding “latent virus reservoirs” in that only hCMV establishes latency in hematopoietic lineage cells (HLCs), whereas mCMV establishes latency in endothelial cells. This would imply that only hCMV can reactivate from transplanted HLCs of a latently infected donor. In addition, as viral transcriptional activity during latency is discussed as a driver of clonal T-cell expansion over lifetime, a phenomenon known as “memory inflation”, it is important to know if hCMV and mCMV establish latency in the same cell type(s) for imprinting the immune system. Here, we review the currently available evidence to propose that the alleged difference in latent virus reservoirs between hCMV and mCMV may rather relate to a difference in the focus of research. While studies on hCMV latency in HLCs likely described a non-canonical, transient type-2 latency, studies in the mouse model focussed on canonical, lifelong type-1 latency.

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