Inserm 563, CHU Purpan, 31059 Toulouse Cedex
Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV), a latent and persistent betaherpesvirus is well tolerated by the host due to an immune control of replication ensured in large part by CD8+ T cells. In contrast, immunocompromised hosts can be severely affected by HCMV infection. During evolution, the virus acquired a lot of genes which encode proteins with immunosubversive activities able to interfere with both innate and adaptive defences. Since infection of dendritic cells induced their functional paralysis, we may then ask how an efficient CD8+ T cell response could be generated. In response to this question, cross presentation of exogenous HCMV antigens by uninfected dendritic cells could be considered as a key process in initiating a response. The aim of this review is to suggest how innate response against the virus could provide starting material for cross presentation of HCMV antigens to CD8+ T cells.