Diverse immune evasion strategies by human cytomegalovirus

Immunol Res. 2012 Dec;54(1-3):140-51. doi: 10.1007/s12026-012-8304-8.


Members of the Herpesviridae family have the capacity to undergo both lytic and latent infection to establish a lifelong relationship with their host. Following primary infection, human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) can persist as a subclinical, recurrent infection for the lifetime of an individual. This quiescent portion of its life cycle is termed latency and is associated with periodic bouts of reactivation during times of immunosuppression, inflammation, or stress. In order to exist indefinitely and establish infection, HCMV encodes a multitude of immune modulatory mechanisms devoted to escaping the host antiviral response. HCMV has become a paradigm for studies of viral immune evasion of antigen presentation by both major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I and II molecules. By restricting the presentation of viral antigens during both productive and latent infection, HCMV limits elimination by the human immune system. This review will focus on understanding how the virus manipulates the pathways of antigen presentation in order to modulate the host response to infection.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Antigen Presentation
  • Cytomegalovirus / pathogenicity*
  • Cytomegalovirus / physiology
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / immunology*
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / virology
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I / immunology
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class II / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immune Evasion / immunology*
  • Virus Latency


  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class II