Battle between Host Immune Cellular Responses and HCMV Immune Evasion.
Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is ubiquitously prevalent. HCMV infection is typically asymptomatic and controlled by the immune system in healthy individuals, yet HCMV can be severely pathogenic for the fetus during pregnancy and in immunocompromised persons, such as transplant recipients or HIV infected patients. HCMV has co-evolved with the hosts, developed strategies to hide from immune effector cells and to successfully survive in the human organism. One strategy for evading or delaying the immune response is maintenance of the viral genome to establish the phase of latency. Furthermore, HCMV immune evasion involves the downregulation of human leukocyte antigens (HLA)-Ia molecules to hide infected cells from T-cell recognition. HCMV expresses several proteins that are described for downregulation of the HLA class I pathway via various mechanisms. Here, we review the wide range of immune evasion mechanisms of HCMV. Understanding the mechanisms of HCMV immune evasion will contribute to the development of new customized therapeutic strategies against the virus.