Cytomegalovirus biology

Published on April 29, 2020   40 min

Other Talks in the Therapeutic Area: Infectious Diseases

My name is Domenico Tortorella. I'm a professor in the Department of Microbiology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. Today, I'm going to discuss some of the highlights of the importance of cytomegalovirus and cytomegalovirus entry.
The outline of the presentation will include an introduction to herpes viruses, cytomegalovirus prevalence and disease, current anti-viral agents and some vaccine trials. Basically, the importance of, and for you to recognize the complication of, the CMV life-cycle; and one aspect is viral entry, viral latency and one important aspect of the virus is its ability to persist in their host and we're going to discuss the important immune evasion strategies of the virus.
Cytomegalovirus is a herpes virus, and herpesviruses are basically in three different categories- considered Alpha, Beta, and Gamma. The Alpha herpesviruses consist of herpes simplex virus 1 and 2 and varicella-zoster virus. You can see in all cases these are neurotropic viruses and they have a relatively large genome size. The Beta herpesviruses, a small category, includes cytomegalovirus, human herpesvirus 6, human herpesvirus 7, and they cause wide tissue tropism, but they're very species-specific. Recently, HHV 6 and 7 have been associated with Alzheimer's disease and a recent publication in Immunity shows that these viruses can affect multiple cell types as well as potentially cause different various diseases and we're going to discuss more about the different aspects of all the different diseases that is associated with the proliferation of human cytomegalovirus. Note that human cytomegalovirus is the largest genome, which is over 230 kilobases and we'll see at the end how a lot of that genome is dedicated to all viral invasion. The last group is the Gamma herpesviruses, they usually infect lymph cells and they're considered lymphotropic. They're associated with cancer, and these include the Epstein-Barr virus and the Gamma as well as the Kaposi's sarcoma herpes virus that was more or less discovered, caused lots of disease in HIV infected individuals and in all cases, these are viruses that after a primary infection, in most cases, they cause permanent latent infection, which usually means they're latent in different reservoirs of the host and they reactivate at different times that are based on immunocompromised or inflammatory responses of the host.