Toll-like receptors, innate immunity and HSV pathogenesis

Melissa M. Herbst-Kralovetz, Richard B. Pyles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


In the last decade, substantial progress has been made in understanding the molecular mechanisms involved in initial host responses to viral infections, and how viral recognition leads to the innate responses that ultimately shape the adaptive immune response. Viruses, including herpes simplex virus (HSV) types 1 and 2, trigger toll-like receptors (TLRs) that elicit cytokine and chemokine production. In turn, this can create local resistance and modulate T- and B-cell-mediated immunity. TLR activation by HSV-produced molecules (or other synthetic agonists) leads to the remodelling of draining lymph nodes. This enhances the screening of naïve T-cells, from which antigen-specific lymphocytes can be selected and expanded. The innate response thereby serves to direct a timely and effective acquired immune response, through the initial TLR recognition of viral pathogen-associated molecular patterns that can limit or possibly exacerbate viral pathogenesis. Recently, these findings have been exploited by strategies that utilize synthetic TLR agonists as prophylactic or therapeutic devices. Such devices prime innate immune responses, enhancing host resistance to viral infections, including experimental HSV infections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-41
Number of pages5
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2006


  • Genital herpes
  • Herpes infections
  • Herpes simplex virus transmission
  • Innate immunity
  • Microbicide
  • TLR agonists
  • Toll-like receptors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases


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