Send to

Choose Destination
PLoS Pathog. 2011 Nov;7(11):e1002362. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1002362. Epub 2011 Nov 10.

The human herpesvirus-7 (HHV-7) U21 immunoevasin subverts NK-mediated cytoxicity through modulation of MICA and MICB.

Author information

Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States of America.


Herpesviruses have evolved numerous immune evasion strategies to facilitate establishment of lifelong persistent infections. Many herpesviruses encode gene products devoted to preventing viral antigen presentation as a means of escaping detection by cytotoxic T lymphocytes. The human herpesvirus-7 (HHV-7) U21 gene product, for example, is an immunoevasin that binds to class I major histocompatibility complex molecules and redirects them to the lysosomal compartment. Virus infection can also induce the upregulation of surface ligands that activate NK cells. Accordingly, the herpesviruses have evolved a diverse array of mechanisms to prevent NK cell engagement of NK-activating ligands on virus-infected cells. Here we demonstrate that the HHV-7 U21 gene product interferes with NK recognition. U21 can bind to the NK activating ligand ULBP1 and reroute it to the lysosomal compartment. In addition, U21 downregulates the surface expression of the NK activating ligands MICA and MICB, resulting in a reduction in NK-mediated cytotoxicity. These results suggest that this single viral protein may interfere both with CTL-mediated recognition through the downregulation of class I MHC molecules as well as NK-mediated recognition through downregulation of NK activating ligands.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Public Library of Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center