Molecular Determinants and the Regulation of Human Cytomegalovirus Latency and Reactivation

Viruses. 2018 Aug 20;10(8):444. doi: 10.3390/v10080444.


Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is a beta herpesvirus that establishes a life-long persistence in the host, like all herpesviruses, by way of a latent infection. During latency, viral genomes are maintained in a quieted state. Virus replication can be reactivated from latency in response to changes in cellular signaling caused by stress or differentiation. The past decade has brought great insights into the molecular basis of HCMV latency. Here, we review the complex persistence of HCMV with consideration of latent reservoirs, viral determinants and their host interactions, and host signaling and the control of cellular and viral gene expression that contributes to the establishment of and reactivation from latency.

Keywords: epigenetic regulation; human cytomegalovirus; latency; reactivation; signaling; transcription factors.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Bone Marrow Cells / virology
  • Cytomegalovirus / genetics*
  • Cytomegalovirus / pathogenicity
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / virology
  • Epithelial Cells / virology
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Viral*
  • Genome, Viral*
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions*
  • Humans
  • Macrophages / virology
  • Signal Transduction
  • Virus Activation / genetics*
  • Virus Latency / genetics*
  • Virus Replication / genetics