Herpesvirus Latency Confers Protection From L. monocytogenes and Y. pestis

Contributed by Azarene Foutouhi

Susceptibility to bacterial infections depends on many things including the individual’s immunologic condition and the virulence of the bacteria. After preliminary data showed prolonged macrophage activation during gamma-Herpesvirus latency, researchers wondered if this state might be associated with resistance to infection. Mice five weeks post infection with HV68 or MCMV challenged with L. monocytogenes showed nearly complete resistance, while mice previously exposed to viruses incapable of latency exhibited bacterial titers identical to control. Mice reacted similarly to Y. pestis challenge. Interestingly, this protection is not provided by acute gamma or beta-Herpesvirus infection and wanes by latency week 12. Because approximately 90% of humans are herpesvirus positive, there is a great need to re-examine interactions between immune function and possibly symbiotic microbes.

Barton, Erik S., Douglas W. White, and Herbert W. Virgin. “Herpesvirus Latency and Symbiotic Protection from Bacterial Infection.” Viral Immunology 22.1 (2009): 3–4. PMC. Web. 18 Apr. 2017.

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