Caister Academic Press

Immunity to Herpes Simplex Virus

Keith R. Jerome
from: Alphaherpesviruses: Molecular Virology (Edited by: Sandra K. Weller). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2011)


HSV presents unique challenges to the human immune system. Most of these result from the ability of the virus to establish latency in neurons of the dorsal root ganglia. The first line of defense against the initial establishment of latent infection is the innate immune response. The innate response relies on a variety of cell types recognizing HSV infection via pattern recognition receptors, including toll-like receptors. After exposure, the adaptive immune response is triggered. However, the adaptive response must deal with reactivation of HSV from the latently infected neuron, which in turn seeds mucosal sites with virus. T cells are especially important in this, and likely control both the extent of reactivation from latently infected neurons as well as the extent of viral replication at mucosal sites. Not surprising, HSV has evolved a wide variety of immune evasion mechanisms to tip this balance in its favor and facilitate transmission to new hosts. The study of HSV and its interaction with the host immune system has provided insights into the function of both, and may ultimately facilitate the development of an effective HSV vaccine read more ...
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