Immune Response to Human Cytomegalovirus Infection

  • L. Rasmussen
Conference paper
Part of the Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology book series (CT MICROBIOLOGY, volume 154)


The purpose of this article is to review immune responses to cytomegalovirus (CMV) which may be initiated or guided by specific gene products of the virus. In light of the clinical importance of CMV as a pathogen, increasing efforts are being made to understand the immune response to CMV and how it relates to protection from severe clinical disease. The genome of CMV is 230 kilobases and has the capacity to code for aproximately 200 proteins, each of which may be subject to posttranslational modification by cleavage, phosphorylation, glycosylation, or sulfation. The spectrum of proteins is therefore complex, but our understanding of the immunologic structure of CMV has improved greatly in the past few years, largely as a result of the application of monoclonal antibodies and recombinant DNA technology to the problems of gene and protein identification. The rational design of a subunit CMV vaccine is dependent upon progress in studies of both the virology and immunology of CMV. In this review, I will first summarize what is currently known about the protein structure of human CMV. In that section I will focus on those proteins and glycoproteins that have either been characterized according to function or have been localized to a specific area within the genome. The formidable task of grouping the CMV gene products that have been described to date has been accomplished in a recent review by Landini and Michelson (1988). Second I will describe the general patterns of immune responsivity to CMV. I will emphasize the human immune responses which have been associated with protection or are thought to be important for containment of virus infection. However, studies in animal models or with non-human CMV strains will be discussed where appropriate. Immune responses which can be stimulated with defined viral proteins will be described.


Herpes Simplex Virus Type Human Cytomegalovirus Cytomegalovirus Infection Bone Marrow Transplant Recipient Recombinant Vaccinia Virus 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. Rasmussen
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Infectious DiseasesStanford Medical SchoolStanfordUSA

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