Human cytomegalovirus modulates monocyte-mediated innate immune responses during short-term experimental latency in vitro

Vanessa M. Noriega, Kester K. Haye, Thomas A. Kraus, Shanna R. Kowalsky, Yongchao Ge, Thomas M. Moran, Domenico Tortorella

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


The ability of human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) to establish lifelong persistence and reactivate from latency is critical to its success as a pathogen. Here we describe a short-term in vitro model representing the events surrounding HCMV latency and reactivation in circulating peripheral blood monocytes that was developed in order to study the immunological consequence of latent virus carriage. Infection of human CD14+ monocytes by HCMV resulted in the immediate establishment of latency, as evidenced by the absence of particular lytic gene expression, the transcription of latency-associated mRNAs, and the maintenance of viral genomes. Latent HCMV induced cellular differentiation to a macrophage lineage, causing production of selective proinflammatory cytokines and myeloid-cell chemoattractants that most likely play a role in virus dissemination in the host. Analysis of global cellular gene expression revealed activation of innate immune responses and the modulation of protein and lipid synthesis to accommodate latent HCMV infection. Remarkably, monocytes harboring latent virus exhibited selective responses to secondary stimuli known to induce an antiviral state. Furthermore, when challenged with type I and II interferon, latently infected cells demonstrated a blockade of signaling at the level of STAT1 phosphorylation. The data demonstrate that HCMV reprograms specific cellular pathways in monocytes, most notably innate immune responses, which may play a role in the establishment of, maintenance of, and reactivation from latency. The modulation of innate immune responses is likely a viral evasion strategy contributing to viral dissemination and pathogenesis in the host.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9391-9405
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Virology
Issue number16
StatePublished - 2014


Dive into the research topics of 'Human cytomegalovirus modulates monocyte-mediated innate immune responses during short-term experimental latency in vitro'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this