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Several herpesviruses have acquired the gene for the CD200 membrane protein from their hosts and can downregulate myeloid activity through interaction of this viral CD200 orthologue with the host receptor for CD200, namely CD200R, which can give inhibitory signals. This receptor is a 'paired receptor', meaning proteins related to the inhibitory CD200R are present but differ in that they can give activating signals and also give a negligible interaction with CD200. We showed that the viral orthologues e127 from rat cytomegalovirus and K14 from human herpesvirus 8 do not bind the activating CD200R-like proteins from their respective species, although they do bind the inhibitory receptors. It is thought that the activating receptors have evolved in response to pathogens targeting the inhibitory receptor. In this case, the CD200 orthologue is not trapped by the activating receptor but has maintained the specificity of the host from which it was acquired, suggesting that the activating members of the CD200R family have evolved to protect against a different pathogen.

Original publication




Journal article


J Gen Virol

Publication Date





179 - 184


Animals, Antigens, Surface, Herpesvirus 8, Human, Host-Pathogen Interactions, Humans, Muromegalovirus, Protein Binding, Rats, Receptors, Cell Surface, Receptors, Immunologic, Viral Proteins