Antigens and immunoevasins: opponents in cytomegalovirus immune surveillance

Nat Rev Immunol. 2002 Nov;2(11):831-44. doi: 10.1038/nri932.


CD8+ T cells are the main effector cells for the immune control of cytomegaloviruses. To subvert this control, human and mouse cytomegaloviruses each encode a set of immune-evasion proteins, referred to here as immunoevasins, which interfere specifically with the MHC class I pathway of antigen processing and presentation. Although the concerted action of immunoevasins prevents the presentation of certain viral peptides, other viral peptides escape this blockade conditionally or constitutively and thereby provide the molecular basis of immune surveillance by CD8+ T cells. The definition of viral antigenic peptides that are presented despite the presence of immunoevasins adds a further dimension to the prediction of protective epitopes for use in vaccines.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigen Presentation
  • Antigens, Viral / immunology*
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Cytomegalovirus / immunology*
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I / physiology
  • Humans
  • Immediate-Early Proteins / immunology*
  • Immunologic Surveillance
  • Mice
  • Recurrence
  • Viral Proteins / immunology*
  • Virus Latency


  • Antigens, Viral
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I
  • IE1 protein, cytomegalovirus
  • Immediate-Early Proteins
  • Viral Proteins