Molecular mechanisms of human herpes viruses inferring with host immune surveillance

Simon Jasinski-Bergner*, Ofer Mandelboim, Barbara Seliger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Several human herpes viruses (HHVs) exert oncogenic potential leading to malignant transformation of infected cells and/or tissues. The molecular processes induced by viral-encoded molecules including microRNAs, peptides, and proteins contributing to immune evasion of the infected host cells are equal to the molecular processes of immune evasion mediated by tumor cells independently of viral infections. Such major immune evasion strategies include (1) the downregulation of proinflammatory cytokines/chemokines as well as the induction of anti-inflammatory cytokines/chemokines, (2) the downregulation of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class Ia directly as well as indirectly by downregulation of the components involved in the antigen processing, and (3) the downregulation of stress-induced ligands for activating receptors on immune effector cells with NKG2D leading the way. Furthermore, (4) immune modulatory molecules like MHC class Ib molecules and programmed cell death1 ligand 1 can be upregulated on infections with certain herpes viruses. This review article focuses on the known molecular mechanisms of HHVs modulating the above-mentioned possibilities for immune surveillance and even postulates a temporal order linking regular tumor immunology with basic virology and offering putatively novel insights for targeting HHVs.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number000841
JournalJournal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2 Jul 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2020. Re-use permitted under CC BY-NC. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.


  • antigen presentation
  • immune tolerance
  • immunity
  • immunomodulation
  • immunotherapy


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