Molecular mechanisms of persistent antigenic stimulation in cytomegalovirus infection

This project is a result of a starting grant by the European Research Council (ERC), which was awarded to our group in 2011.

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) induces a T-cell response of unique magnitude, and CMV-specific T-cells dominate the memory compartment of latently infected hosts, yet the reasons for such a strong response remain unclear.

This project aims to clarify the mechanisms of CMV immunodominance on a molecular level. Using a model of mouse infection with recombinant mouse CMVs, we will explore the conditions upon which viral peptides induce immune responses, and the possibilities to improve or suppress the antigenic induction.

Improved understanding of the conditions upon which CMV activates T-cells may allow us to develop therapeutic strategies for the control of CMV disease in immunosuppressed patients undergoing organ transplantation procedures. Potentially, this knowledge may allow us to harness the immune potential of CMVs and generate CMV-based vaccine vectors against other infections.


Funding Agency