Table of Contents Author Guidelines Submit a Manuscript
Advances in Virology
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 679271, 12 pages
Review Article

The Role of Plasmacytoid Dendritic Cells in Innate and Adaptive Immune Responses against Alpha Herpes Virus Infections

Institute of Clinical and Molecular Virology, German National Reference Centre for Retroviruses, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Schlossgarten 4, 91054 Erlangen, Germany

Received 23 December 2010; Accepted 2 February 2011

Academic Editor: Jay C. Brown

Copyright © 2011 Philipp Schuster et al. 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.


In 1999, two independent groups identified plasmacytoid dendritic cells (PDC) as major type I interferon- (IFN-) producing cells in the blood. Since then, evidence is accumulating that PDC are a multifunctional cell population effectively coordinating innate and adaptive immune responses. This paper focuses on the role of different immune cells and their interactions in the surveillance of alpha herpes virus infections, summarizes current knowledge on PDC surface receptors and their role in direct cell-cell contacts, and develops a risk factor model for the clinical implications of herpes simplex and varicella zoster virus reactivation. Data from studies involving knockout mice and cell-depletion experiments as well as human studies converge into a “spider web”, in which the direct and indirect crosstalk between many cell populations tightly controls acute, latent, and recurrent alpha herpes virus infections. Notably, cells involved in innate immune regulations appear to shape adaptive immune responses more extensively than previously thought.