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Hidden in Plain Sight

Immune Evasion by Herpes Simplex-1 Virus

Co Authors:

Jeffrey J. Byrd
Biology Department
St. Mary’s College of Maryland

Samantha L. Elliott
Biology Department
St. Mary’s College of Maryland


As nonliving entities, viruses face specific challenges when replicating in a host.  Avoiding the host immune system is something that every virus aims for in order to successfully reproduce itself and infect another host.  Many viruses replicate quickly and leave the host before a full immune response has been achieved.  In contrast, the Herpesviridae remain in the host for life, using latency and periodic reactivation events to spread viral particles while avoiding the memory immune response.  This case study explores specific immune evasion mechanisms of herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV-1), which is the causative agent of cold sores and is estimated to be present in upwards of 50% of the human population.  The case also considers anti-viral therapies and the resulting effects on HSV-1 replication and dissemination. Written to promote interdisciplinary connections between an upper-division virology class and an immunology class, the case is the second case in a set of three cases. The other two cases, also published on this site, include "Chickens and Humans and Pigs... Oh My!" and "Retro Goes Modern: The Evolution and Evasive Maneuvers of HIV."

  • Explain the background information of their discipline to others (virology students: the HSV-1 replication process; immunology students: how viral antigens are processed and presented, the complement system, and Fc receptors).
  • Describe the basic mechanisms from the counterpart discipline.
  • Illustrate how viral gene products can subvert the host immune response.
  •  Propose mechanisms of drug action that can be used to treat viral infections.
  • Apply the mechanisms studied to future class content.
  • Locate and evaluate appropriate sources of information.
Keywords: Herpes simplex virus; HIV-1; Herpesviridae; viral infection; infectious disease; antigen; immune evasion; immunity; immunology; virology
Topical Area: N/A
Educational Level: Undergraduate upper division
Formats: PDF
Type/Method: Interrupted, Analysis, Discussion, Journal Article
Language: English
Subject Headings: Biology (General)   Medicine (General)   Cell Biology   Molecular Biology   Microbiology   Public Health   Interdisciplinary Sciences  
Date Posted: 3/30/2012
Date Modified: N/A
Copyright: Copyright held by the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science, University at Buffalo, State University of New York. Please see our usage guidelines, which outline our policy concerning permissible reproduction of this work.

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