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Common Characteristics and Distinct Features of Human Pathogenic Herpesviruses

  • Hartmut Hengel

Abstract

The members of the family of the herpesviridae are phylogenetically very old viruses that co-evolved over millions of years with their hosts. Depending on the type of the target cell that is entered by the virion, herpesviruses can take two different paths of infection. Virus progeny is generated only in productively infected cells. This type of infection is associated with host cell lysis. In contrast, other cells repress lytic viral gene expression and preserve the herpesviral genome for a very long time, a state that is called latency. However, herpesvirus latency can be reversed to a productive infection mode, i. e., the herpesviral genome replicates and produces an infectious virus. These basic principles of herpesvirus biology imply that: 1) herpesvirus disease manifestations must be distinguished form herpesvirus infection, 2) diseases can occur already during primary replication, but also a long time after primary infection as a result of virus reactivation, and 3) recurrent disease manifestations can occur due to the lifelong infection.

Keywords

Herpes Zoster Trigeminal Ganglion Human Herpesvirus Trigeminal Ganglion Neuron Herpesvirus Infection 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hartmut Hengel
    • 1
  1. 1.Head of Department of VirologyUniversity ClinicsDüsseldorfGermany

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