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Viral strategies to modulate NKG2D-ligand expression in Human Cytomegalovirus infection – New Horizons in Translational Medicine


Human cytomegalovirus is a paradigm for studies of viral strategies of immune evasion. In particular, the virus has developed multiple mechanisms for evasion of immune surveillance by lymphocytes expressing the activating receptor NKG2D. The human genome encodes several ligands able to bind NKG2D and in this article we review and discuss what is known about the various viral proteins and micro RNAs that act to minimise the recognition of the infected cell by modulation of the expression and trafficking of the different NKG2D ligand molecules.

Focal points

  • The activating receptor NKG2D is important in the immune response to HCMV.
  • HCMV has developed multiple strategies to evade immunosurveillance by cytotoxic lymphocytes expressing NKG2D.
  • A better understanding of immune evasion by HCMV will likely be relevant for the development of better vaccination strategies.

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