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Chapter 10 : Overview of Viral Pathogens

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Abstract:

Viruses exhibit an extremely high mutation rate relative to their hosts, and are constantly changing genetically, with the consequence that their host range is in constant flux. Viruses are important vectors for vaccines against viral pathogens and nonviral pathogens and neoplasia. The plan of coordinated gene expression is based on genome replication, and viral genes can be classified as early (pre-genome replication) versus late (post-genome replication). The replication of RNA viruses results in the presence of unusually high amounts of double-stranded RNA in the cytoplasm. Viral replication of hepatocytes appears to be innocuous, with the damage coming over many years from virus-specific CD8+ T-cells that infiltrate the liver and destroy infected cells. The innate immune system has nearly complete responsibility for controlling infections for the first 3 to 5 days after infection with an infectious agent that the host has not previously experienced. Perhaps this is sufficient to completely contain low-level infections with some viruses, but for more serious threats the adaptive immune system must be mobilized to contain and clear the infection. The adaptive immune system has a variety of effector mechanisms for this purpose, all based on the specificity of antibodies and T-cell receptors for viral antigens. The genes encoding these remarkable molecules are the only genes in vertebrates that are routinely subject to somatic mutation and rearrangement. This enables the immune system to keep pace with genetic variability of viruses (and other pathogens), maintaining the capacity to respond specifically to virtually any virusencoded protein.

Citation: Yewdell J, Bennink J. 2011. Overview of Viral Pathogens, p 133-141. In Kaufmann S, Rouse B, Sacks D (ed), The Immune Response to Infection. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816872.ch10

Key Concept Ranking

Rift Valley fever virus
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Eastern equine encephalitis virus
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Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus
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Eastern equine encephalitis virus
0.47970504
Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus
0.47970504
0.5299703
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References

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Tables

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TABLE 1

Leading virus-associated diseases

Citation: Yewdell J, Bennink J. 2011. Overview of Viral Pathogens, p 133-141. In Kaufmann S, Rouse B, Sacks D (ed), The Immune Response to Infection. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816872.ch10
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TABLE 2

Virus classification

Citation: Yewdell J, Bennink J. 2011. Overview of Viral Pathogens, p 133-141. In Kaufmann S, Rouse B, Sacks D (ed), The Immune Response to Infection. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816872.ch10
Generic image for table
TABLE 3

Sites of viral infection

Citation: Yewdell J, Bennink J. 2011. Overview of Viral Pathogens, p 133-141. In Kaufmann S, Rouse B, Sacks D (ed), The Immune Response to Infection. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816872.ch10

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