Rethinking human cytomegalovirus latency reservoir

Michal Schwartz, Noam Stern-Ginossar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is a prevalent herpesvirus, infecting the majority of the human population. Like other herpesviruses, it causes lifelong infection through the establishment of latency. Although reactivation from latency can cause significant morbidity and mortality in immunocompromised hosts, our understanding of HCMV latency and how it is maintained remains limited. Here, we discuss the characterized latency reservoir in hematopoietic cells in the bone marrow and the gaps in our knowledge of mechanisms that facilitate HCMV genome maintenance in dividing cells. We further review clinical evidence that strongly suggests the tissue origin of HCMV reactivation, and we outline similarities to murine cytomegalovirus where latency in tissue-resident cells has been demonstrated. Overall, we think these observations call for a rethinking of HCMV latency reservoirs and point to potential sources of HCMV latency that reside in tissues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-36
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of New York Academy of Sciences.


  • cytomegalovirus
  • latency
  • myeloid cells
  • reactivation


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