Natural killer cell responses during human γ-herpesvirus infections

Christian Münz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Herpesviruses are main sculptors of natural killer (NK) cell repertoires. While the β-herpesvirus human cytomegalovirus (CMV) drives the accumulation of adaptive NKG2C-positive NK cells, the human γ-herpesvirus Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) expands early differentiated NKG2A-positive NK cells. While adaptive NK cells support adaptive immunity by antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity, NKG2A-positive NK cells seem to preferentially target lytic EBV replicating B cells. The im-portance of this restriction of EBV replication during γ-herpesvirus pathogenesis will be discussed. Furthermore, the modification of EBV-driven NK cell expansion by coinfections, including by the other human γ-herpesvirus Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV), will be summarized.

Original languageEnglish
Article number655
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • DNAM-1
  • Epstein–Barr virus (EBV)
  • Kaposi sarcoma associated herpesvirus (KSHV)
  • NKG2A
  • NKG2D


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