Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV), one of the most prevalent viruses across the globe, is a common cause of morbidity and mortality for immunocompromised individuals. Recent clinical observations have demonstrated that mixed strain infections are common and may lead to more severe disease progression. This clinical observation illustrates the complexity of the HCMV genome and emphasizes the importance of taking a population-level view of genotypic evolution. Here we review frequently sampled polymorphisms in the glycoproteins of HCMV, comparing the variable regions, and summarizing their corresponding geographic distributions observed to date. The related strain-specific immunity, including neutralization activity and antigen-specific cellular immunity, is also discussed. Given that these glycoproteins are common targets for vaccine design and anti-viral therapies, this observed genetic variation represents an important resource for future efforts to combat HCMV infections.
Keywords: genotype; glycoprotein; human cytomegalovirus; polymorphism; strain-specific immunity.