Send to

Choose Destination
Front Microbiol. 2014 Aug 7;5:389. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2014.00389. eCollection 2014.

The intimate relationship between human cytomegalovirus and the dendritic cell lineage.

Author information

Department of Medicine, University of Cambridge - Addenbrooke's Hospital Cambridge, UK.
Institute of Immunity and Transplantation, University College London - Royal Free Hospital Hampstead, London, UK.


Primary infection of healthy individuals with human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is normally asymptomatic but results in the establishment of a lifelong infection of the host. One important cellular reservoir of HCMV latency is the CD34+ haematopoietic progenitor cells resident in the bone marrow. Viral gene expression is highly restricted in these cells with an absence of viral progeny production. However, cellular differentiation into mature myeloid cells is concomitant with the induction of a full lytic transcription program, DNA replication and, ultimately, the production of infectious viral progeny. Such reactivation of HCMV is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in a number of immune-suppressed patient populations. Our current understanding of HCMV carriage and reactivation is that cellular differentiation of the CD34+ progenitor cells through the myeloid lineage, resulting in terminal differentiation to either a macrophage or dendritic cell (DC) phenotype, is crucial for the reactivation event. In this mini-review, we focus on the interaction of HCMV with DCs, with a particular emphasis on their role in reactivation, and discuss how the critical regulation of viral major immediate-early gene expression appears to be delicately entwined with the activation of cellular pathways in differentiating DCs. Furthermore, we also explore the possible immune consequences associated with reactivation in a professional antigen presenting cell and potential countermeasures HCMV employs to abrogate these.


cytomegalovirus; dendritic cells; inflammation; latency; reactivation

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Frontiers Media SA Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center