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Trends Mol Med. 2011 Nov;17(11):677-85. doi: 10.1016/j.molmed.2011.07.003. Epub 2011 Aug 17.

All is fair in virus-host interactions: NK cells and cytomegalovirus.

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Department of Histology and Embryology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Rijeka, B. Branchetta 20, 51 000 Rijeka, Croatia.


The infection of mice with mouse cytomegalovirus (MCMV) as a model of human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) infection has been particularly informative in elucidating the role of innate and adaptive immune response mechanisms during infection. Millions of years of co-evolution between cytomegaloviruses (CMV) and their hosts has resulted in numerous attempts to overwhelm each other. CMVs devote many genes to modulating the host natural killer (NK) cell response and NK cells employ many strategies to cope with CMV infection. While focusing on these attack-counterattack measures, this review will discuss several novel mechanisms of immune evasion by MCMV, the role of Ly49 receptors in mediating resistance to MCMV, and the impact of the initial NK cell response on the shaping of adaptive immunity.

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