HHV-6 integrates its genome into telomeres of human chromosomes. Integration can occur in somatic cells or gametes, the latter leading to individuals harboring the HHV-6 genome in every cell. This condition is transmitted to descendants and referred to as inherited chromosomally integrated human herpesvirus 6 (iciHHV-6). Although integration can occur in different chromosomes, it invariably takes place in the telomere region. This integration mechanism represents a way to maintain the virus genome during latency, which is so far unique amongst human herpesviruses. Recent work provides evidence that the integrated HHV-6 genome can be mobilized from the host chromosome, resulting in the onset of disease. Details on required structural determinants, putative integration mechanisms and biological and medical consequences of iciHHV-6 are discussed.
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