Editors' ChoiceVirology

Immune Evasion Tactic

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Science Signaling  25 Jan 2011:
Vol. 4, Issue 157, pp. ec27
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.4157ec27

Pattern recognition receptors are critical to allow cells to sense invading viruses and initiate antiviral immune responses, but viruses deploy a myriad of tactics to avoid detection and induction of antiviral immunity. Gregory et al. found that Kaposi’s sarcoma–associated herpesvirus (KSHV), the etiological agent of several human cancers, encodes a gene (Orf63) homologous to NLRP1, a member of the nucleotide-binding domain, leucine-rich repeat (NLR) containing a family of pattern recognition receptors. Orf63 interacted with NLRP1, prevented its oligomerization, and inhibited activation of downstream antiviral responses. Thus, KSHV can evade the immune response by inhibiting an important viral detection pathway in the host.

S. M. Gregory, B. K. Davis, J. A. West, D. J. Taxman, S.-i. Matsuzawa, J. C. Reed, J. P. Y. Ting, B. Damania, Discovery of a viral NLR homolog that inhibits the inflammasome. Science 331, 330–334 (2011). [Abstract] [Full Text]