Advances in Model Systems for Human Cytomegalovirus Latency and Reactivation

Lindsey B. Crawford, Nicole L. Diggins, Patrizia Caposio, Meaghan H. Hancock

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is a highly prevalent beta-herpesvirus and a significant cause of morbidity and mortality following hematopoietic and solid organ transplant, as well as the leading viral cause of congenital abnormalities. A key feature of the pathogenesis of HCMV is the ability of the virus to establish a latent infection in hematopoietic progenitor and myeloid lineage cells. The study of HCMV latency has been hampered by difficulties in obtaining and culturing primary cells, as well as an inability to quantitatively measure reactivating virus, but recent advances in both in vitro and in vivo models of HCMV latency and reactivation have led to a greater understanding of the interplay between host and virus. Key differences in established model systems have also led to controversy surrounding the role of viral gene products in latency establishment, maintenance, and reactivation. This review will discuss the details and challenges of various models including hematopoietic progenitor cells, monocytes, cell lines, and humanized mice. We highlight the utility and functional differences between these models and the necessary experimental design required to define latency and reactivation, which will help to generate a more complete picture of HCMV infection of myeloid-lineage cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere01724
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2022


  • Embryonic stem cells
  • HuNSG mice
  • Human cytomegalovirus
  • Latency
  • Monocytes
  • Reactivation
  • Stem cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Virology


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