Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV), a linear double-stranded DNA betaherpesvirus belonging to the family of Herpesviridae, is characterized by widespread seroprevalence, ranging between 56% and 94%, strictly dependent on the socioeconomic background of the country being considered. Typically, HCMV causes asymptomatic infection in the immunocompetent population, while in immunocompromised individuals or when transmitted vertically from the mother to the fetus it leads to systemic disease with severe complications and high mortality rate. Following primary infection, HCMV establishes a state of latency primarily in myeloid cells, from which it can be reactivated by various inflammatory stimuli. Several studies have shown that HCMV, despite being a DNA virus, is highly prone to genetic variability that strongly influences its replication and dissemination rates as well as cellular tropism. In this scenario, the few currently available drugs for the treatment of HCMV infections are characterized by high toxicity, poor oral bioavailability, and emerging resistance. Here, we review past and current literature that has greatly advanced our understanding of the biology and genetics of HCMV, stressing the urgent need for innovative and safe anti-HCMV therapies and effective vaccines to treat and prevent HCMV infections, particularly in vulnerable populations.

Where do we stand after decades of studying human cytomegalovirus?

Gugliesi Francesca
First
;
Griffante Gloria;Galitska Ganna;Pasquero Selina;Albano Camilla;Biolatti Matteo
Last
2020

Abstract

Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV), a linear double-stranded DNA betaherpesvirus belonging to the family of Herpesviridae, is characterized by widespread seroprevalence, ranging between 56% and 94%, strictly dependent on the socioeconomic background of the country being considered. Typically, HCMV causes asymptomatic infection in the immunocompetent population, while in immunocompromised individuals or when transmitted vertically from the mother to the fetus it leads to systemic disease with severe complications and high mortality rate. Following primary infection, HCMV establishes a state of latency primarily in myeloid cells, from which it can be reactivated by various inflammatory stimuli. Several studies have shown that HCMV, despite being a DNA virus, is highly prone to genetic variability that strongly influences its replication and dissemination rates as well as cellular tropism. In this scenario, the few currently available drugs for the treatment of HCMV infections are characterized by high toxicity, poor oral bioavailability, and emerging resistance. Here, we review past and current literature that has greatly advanced our understanding of the biology and genetics of HCMV, stressing the urgent need for innovative and safe anti-HCMV therapies and effective vaccines to treat and prevent HCMV infections, particularly in vulnerable populations.
8
5
685
714
https://www.mdpi.com/2076-2607/8/5/685
Antiviral therapy; Genetic variability; Human cytomegalovirus; Pathogenesis; Viral dissemination
Gugliesi Francesca, Coscia Alessandra, Griffante Gloria, Galitska Ganna, Pasquero Selina, Albano Camilla, Biolatti Matteo
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2318/1740741
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