A viral conspiracy: hijacking the chemokine system through virally encoded pirated chemokine receptors

Curr Top Microbiol Immunol. 2006;303:121-54. doi: 10.1007/978-3-540-33397-5_6.


Several herpesviruses and poxviruses contain genes encoding for G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) proteins that are expressed on the surface of infected host cells and/or the viral envelope. Most of these membrane-associated proteins display highest homology to the subfamily of chemokine receptors known to play a key role in the immune system. Virally encoded chemokine receptors have been modified through evolutionary selection both in chemokine binding profile and signaling capacity, ultimately resulting in immune evasion and cellular reprogramming in favor of viral survival and replication. Insight in the role of virally encoded GPCRs during the viral lifecycle may reveal their potential as future drug targets.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chemokines / physiology*
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / immunology
  • Herpesviridae Infections / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Poxviridae Infections / immunology*
  • Receptors, Chemokine / physiology*
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / physiology*
  • Viral Proteins / physiology*


  • Chemokines
  • Receptors, Chemokine
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled
  • Viral Proteins