Editors' ChoiceHost-Pathogen Interactions

Parasites Make It Hard to Fight Viruses

Sci. Signal.  05 Aug 2014:
Vol. 7, Issue 337, pp. ec210
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2005756

Microbial coinfections challenge the immune system—different pathogens often require different flavors of immune responses for their elimination or containment (see the Perspective by Maizels and Gause). Two teams studied what happens when parasitic worms and viruses infect mice at the same time. Reese et al. found that parasite coinfection woke up a dormant virus. Osborne et al. found that mice already infected with parasitic worms were worse at fighting off viruses. In both cases, worms skewed the immune response so that the immune cells and the molecules they secreted created an environment favorable for the worm at the expense of antiviral immunity.

T. A. Reese, B. S. Wakeman, H. S. Choi, M. M. Hufford, S. C. Huang, X. Zhang, M. D. Buck, A. Jezewski, A. Kambal, C. Y. Liu, G. Goel, P. J. Murray, R. J. Xavier, M. H. Kaplan, R. Renne, S. H. Speck, M. N. Artyomov, E. J. Pearce, H. W. Virgin, Helminth infection reactivates latent γ-herpesvirus via cytokine competition at a viral promoter. Science 345, 573–577 (2014). [Abstract] [Full Text]

L. C. Osborne, L. A. Monticelli, T. J. Nice, T. E. Sutherland, M. C. Siracusa, M. R. Hepworth, V. T. Tomov, D. Kobuley, S. V. Tran, K. Bittinger, A. G. Bailey, A. L. Laughlin, J.-L. Boucher, E. J. Wherry, F. D. Bushman, J. E. Allen, H. W. Virgin, D. Artis, Virus-helminth coinfection reveals a microbiota-independent mechanism of immunomodulation. Science 345, 578–582 (2014). [Abstract] [Full Text]

R. M. Maizels, W. C. Gause, How helminths go viral. Science 345, 517–518 (2014). [Abstract] [Full Text]