Cytomegalovirus: pathogen, paradigm, and puzzle

J Clin Invest. 2011 May;121(5):1673-80. doi: 10.1172/JCI45449.


Human cytomegalovirus (CMV), one of the eight herpesviruses that commonly infect humans, is best known for its propensity to cause disease in immunocompromised patients, especially transplant recipients, patients with advanced AIDS, and congenitally infected newborns. Advances in molecular virology coupled with improvements in diagnostic methods and treatment options have vastly improved our understanding of and ability to manage CMV, but many uncertainties remain, including the mechanisms of persistence and pathogenesis and its hypothesized roles in a variety of human illnesses. Here we review recent advances that are reshaping our view and approach to this fascinating virus.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / complications
  • Animals
  • Cytomegalovirus / metabolism
  • Cytomegalovirus / physiology*
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / diagnosis*
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / epidemiology
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / therapy*
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / virology
  • Genome, Viral
  • History, 20th Century
  • Humans
  • Immune System
  • Immunocompromised Host
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Organ Transplantation / adverse effects
  • Virology / methods