Recognition of herpesviruses by the innate immune system

Nat Rev Immunol. 2011 Feb;11(2):143-54. doi: 10.1038/nri2937.


Advances in innate immunity over the past decade have revealed distinct classes of pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) that detect pathogens at the cell surface and in intracellular compartments. This has shed light on how herpesviruses, which are large disease-causing DNA viruses that replicate in the nucleus, are initially recognized during cellular infection. Surprisingly, this involves multiple PRRs both on the cell surface and within endosomes and the cytosol. In this article we describe recent advances in our understanding of innate detection of herpesviruses, how this innate detection translates into anti-herpesvirus host defence, and how the viruses seek to evade this innate detection to establish persistent infections.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • DNA, Viral / immunology
  • Herpesviridae / immunology*
  • Herpesviridae Infections / immunology*
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate*
  • RNA, Viral / immunology
  • Receptors, Pattern Recognition / immunology*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Toll-Like Receptors / immunology


  • DNA, Viral
  • RNA, Viral
  • Receptors, Pattern Recognition
  • Toll-Like Receptors