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Vet Res. 2007 Mar-Apr;38(2):299-318. Epub 2007 Feb 13.

Myxoma virus in the European rabbit: interactions between the virus and its susceptible host.

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  • 1Biotherapeutics Research Group, Robarts Research Institute, University of Western Ontario, Siebens-Drake Building, Room 126, 1400 Western Road, London, Ontario, N6G 2V4, Canada.


Myxoma virus (MV) is a poxvirus that evolved in Sylvilagus lagomorphs, and is the causative agent of myxomatosis in European rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus). This virus is not a natural pathogen of O. cuniculus, yet is able to subvert the host rabbit immune system defenses and cause a highly lethal systemic infection. The interaction of MV proteins and the rabbit immune system has been an ideal model to help elucidate host/poxvirus interactions, and has led to a greater understanding of how other poxvirus pathogens are able to cause disease in their respective hosts. This review will examine how MV causes myxomatosis, by examining a selection of the identified immunomodulatory proteins that this virus expresses to subvert the immune and inflammatory pathways of infected rabbit hosts.

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