Abduction of chemokine elements by herpesviruses
Dairaghi DJ., Greaves DR., Schall TJ.
Chemokines play a key role in orchestrating leukocytic recruitment during inflammatory responses, including those to viral infections. Chemokines are soluble cytokines which mediate their effects through specific G protein-coupled, seven-transmembrane receptors which are expressed on a wide range of cells, including monocytes, T-cells, dendritic cells, and NK cells. Analyses of herpesvirus genomes have revealed that these viral pathogens encode their own versions of both chemokines and chemokine receptors. Viral genes encoding chemokine elements were likely to have been acquired from the host genome and have been remodeled during virus evolution to presumably optimize function or acquire new properties not displayed by their cellular homologues. Virus-encoded chemokines and chemokine receptors are important players in the continuing confrontation between viruses and their mammalian hosts. Detailed characterization of these elements will provide a better understanding of how the immune system responds to viral infection and may suggest new antiviral drug targets and new avenues for the development of antiviral therapies. We will review here the chemokine elements encoded by herpesviruses and how they may aid viral infection and propagation.