Innate Immune Responses to Herpesvirus Infection

Cells. 2021 Aug 18;10(8):2122. doi: 10.3390/cells10082122.


Infection of a host cell by an invading viral pathogen triggers a multifaceted antiviral response. One of the most potent defense mechanisms host cells possess is the interferon (IFN) system, which initiates a targeted, coordinated attack against various stages of viral infection. This immediate innate immune response provides the most proximal defense and includes the accumulation of antiviral proteins, such as IFN-stimulated genes (ISGs), as well as a variety of protective cytokines. However, viruses have co-evolved with their hosts, and as such, have devised distinct mechanisms to undermine host innate responses. As large, double-stranded DNA viruses, herpesviruses rely on a multitude of means by which to counter the antiviral attack. Herein, we review the various approaches the human herpesviruses employ as countermeasures to the host innate immune response.

Keywords: HCMV; HSV; KSHV; antiviral host response; herpesvirus; innate immune response; innate immunity; intrinsic immunity.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Herpesviridae Infections / immunology*
  • Herpesviridae Infections / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate / genetics
  • Immunity, Innate / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • Virus Replication / physiology