Cytomegalovirus: Shape-Shifting the Immune System

J Immunol. 2018 Jun 15;200(12):3881-3889. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1800171.


Systems-based based approaches have begun to shed light on extrinsic factors that contribute to immune system variation. Among these, CMV (HHV-5, a β-herpesvirus) imposes a surprisingly profound impact. Most of the world's population is CMV+, and the virus goes through three distinct infection phases en route to establishing lifelong détente with its host. Immune control of CMV in each phase recruits unique arms of host defense, and in turn the virus employs multiple immune-modulatory strategies that help facilitate the establishment of lifelong persistence. In this review, we explain how CMV shapes immunity and discuss the impact it may have on overall health.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cytomegalovirus / immunology*
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immune System / immunology*