Infectious diseases as a result of DNA virus infections are a major health concern worldwide. The major pathogenic DNA viruses include cytomegalovirus (CMV), herpes simplex virus (HSV), Epstein–Barr virus, Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus, polyoma virus and human papilloma virus. The two major species of herpesviruses such as CMV and HSV are clinically important. Herpes simplex virus is the cause of a wide range of diseases including some serious illnesses such as keratitis and encephalitis. Human cytomegalovirus is the major health risk in the newborn and in the immunocompromised causing congenital abnormalities and systemic diseases, respectively. Moreover, given the ability of DNA viruses to efficiently infect a wide range of cell types, these viruses also have gained clinical importance as potential gene delivery platforms to treat a variety of genetic diseases. The potent immune and inflammatory responses against the viral components however remain the stumbling block to the widespread clinical use of such vectors. Therefore a thorough mechanistic understanding of host anti-viral responses is central to the development not only of anti-viral therapeutics and vaccines but also in order to improve the safety of viral vectors in gene therapies.
Innate immune sensing of DNA viruses. Virology. Feb 17 2011
DNA viruses are a significant contributor to human morbidity and mortality. The immune system protects against viral infections through coordinated innate and adaptive immune responses. While the antigen-specific adaptive mechanisms have been extensively studied, the critical contributions of innate immunity to anti-viral defenses have only been revealed in the very recent past. Central to these anti-viral defenses is the recognition of viral pathogens by a diverse set of germ-line encoded receptors that survey nearly all cellular compartments for the presence of pathogens. In this review, we discuss the recent advances in the innate immune sensing of DNA viruses and focus on the recognition mechanisms involved.