Herpesvirus evasion of natural killer cells

Steffi De Pelsmaeker, Nicolas Romero, Massimo Vitale, Herman W. Favoreel

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review


Natural killer (NK) cells play an important role in the host response against viral infections and cancer development. They are able to kill virus-infected and tumor cells, and they produce different important cytokines that stimulate the antiviral and antitumor adaptive immune response, particularly interferon gamma. NK cells are of particular importance in herpesvirus infections, which is illustrated by systemic and life-threatening herpesvirus disease symptoms in patients with deficiencies in NK cell activity and by the myriad of reports describing herpesvirus NK cell evasion strategies. The latter is particularly obvious for cytomegaloviruses, but increasing evidence indicates that most, if not all, members of the herpesvirus family suppress NK cell activity to some extent. This review discusses the different NK cell evasion strategies described for herpesviruses and how this knowledge may translate to clinical applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere02105-17
JournalJournal of Virology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2018


  • Cytomegalovirus
  • EBV
  • Evasion
  • Herpes simplex virus
  • Herpesvirus
  • KSHV
  • Natural killer cells
  • NK cell
  • Pseudorabies virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology


Dive into the research topics of 'Herpesvirus evasion of natural killer cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this