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Advances in Virology
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 524743, 17 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/524743
Review Article

Orthopoxvirus Genes That Mediate Disease Virulence and Host Tropism

1Department of Genomic Research, State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology VECTOR, Koltsovo, Novosibirsk Region 630559, Russia
2Institute of Cytology and Genetics, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Novosibirsk 630090, Russia

Received 24 January 2012; Accepted 31 May 2012

Academic Editor: John Frater

Copyright © 2012 Sergei N. Shchelkunov. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

In the course of evolution, viruses have developed various molecular mechanisms to evade the defense reactions of the host organism. When understanding the mechanisms used by viruses to overcome manifold defense systems of the animal organism, represented by molecular factors and cells of the immune system, we would not only comprehend better but also discover new patterns of organization and function of these most important reactions directed against infectious agents. Here, study of the orthopoxviruses pathogenic for humans, such as variola (smallpox), monkeypox, cowpox, and vaccinia viruses, may be most important. Analysis of the experimental data, presented in this paper, allows to infer that variola virus and other orthopoxviruses possess an unexampled set of genes whose protein products efficiently modulate the manifold defense mechanisms of the host organisms compared with the viruses from other families.