Open Access
Vet. Res.
Volume 38, Number 2, March-April 2007
Respiratory viruses of domestic animals
Page(s) 299 - 318
Published online 13 February 2007
How to cite this article Vet. Res. (2007) 299-318
Vet. Res. 38 (2007) 299-318
DOI: 10.1051/vetres:2006054

Myxoma virus in the European rabbit: interactions between the virus and its susceptible host

Marianne M. Stanford, Steven J. Werden and Grant McFadden

Biotherapeutics Research Group, Robarts Research Institute and Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Western Ontario, Siebens-Drake Building, Room 126, 1400 Western Road, London, Ontario, N6G 2V4, Canada

(Received 9 March 2006; accepted 20 June 2006; published online 13 February 2007)

Abstract - Myxoma virus (MV) is a poxvirus that evolved in Sylvilagus lagomorphs, and is the causative agent of myxomatosis in European rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus). This virus is not a natural pathogen of O. cuniculus, yet is able to subvert the host rabbit immune system defenses and cause a highly lethal systemic infection. The interaction of MV proteins and the rabbit immune system has been an ideal model to help elucidate host/poxvirus interactions, and has led to a greater understanding of how other poxvirus pathogens are able to cause disease in their respective hosts. This review will examine how MV causes myxomatosis, by examining a selection of the identified immunomodulatory proteins that this virus expresses to subvert the immune and inflammatory pathways of infected rabbit hosts.

Key words: myxoma virus / immunomodulation / poxvirus / Oryctolagus cuniculus

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© INRA, EDP Sciences 2007