T cell responses to cytomegalovirus

Nat Rev Immunol. 2016 Jun;16(6):367-77. doi: 10.1038/nri.2016.38. Epub 2016 Apr 25.


Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) establishes a latent infection that generally remains asymptomatic in immune-competent hosts for decades but can cause serious illness in immune-compromised individuals. The long-term control of CMV requires considerable effort from the host immune system and has a lasting impact on the profile of the immune system. One hallmark of CMV infection is the maintenance of large populations of CMV-specific memory CD8(+) T cells - a phenomenon termed memory inflation - and emerging data suggest that memory inflation is associated with impaired immunity in the elderly. In this Review, we discuss the molecular triggers that promote memory inflation, the idea that memory inflation could be considered a natural pathway of T cell maturation that could be harnessed in vaccination, and the broader implications of CMV infection and the T cell responses it elicits.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aging / immunology
  • Aging / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Cytomegalovirus / immunology*
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / genetics
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / immunology*
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / metabolism*
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / virology
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions / genetics
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Memory
  • T-Cell Antigen Receptor Specificity / immunology
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / metabolism
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / metabolism*