The cycle of human herpes simplex virus infection: virus transport and immune control

Anthony L. Cunningham, Russell J Diefenbach, Monica Miranda-Saksena, Lidija Bosnjak, Min Kim, Cheryl A. Jones, Mark W Douglas

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

157 Citations (Scopus)


After infection of skin or mucosa, herpes simplex virus enters the sensory nerve endings and is conveyed by retrograde axonal transport to the dorsal root ganglion, where the virus develops lifelong latency. Intermittent reactivation, which is spontaneous in humans, leads to anterograde transport of virus particles and proteins to the skin or mucosa, where the virus is shed and/or causes disease. Immune control of viral infection and replication occurs at the level of skin or mucosa during initial or recurrent infection and also within the dorsal root ganglion, where immune mechanisms control latency and reactivation. This article examines current views on the mechanisms of retrograde and anterograde transport of the virus in axons and the mechanisms of innate and adaptive immunity that control infection in the skin or mucosa and in the dorsal root ganglion--in particular, the role of interferons, myeloid and plasmacytoid dendritic cells, CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells, and interferon- gamma and other cytokines, including their significance in the development of vaccines for genital herpes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S11-S18
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Infectious Diseases
Issue numberSuppl 1
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sept 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Axons
  • Ganglia, Spinal
  • Herpes Simplex
  • Herpes Simplex Virus Vaccines
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Protein Transport
  • Recurrence
  • Simplexvirus
  • Skin
  • Viral Proteins
  • Virus Latency
  • Journal Article
  • Review


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