Rölle A, Brodin P
Trends Immunol. 37 (3) 233-243 [2016-03-00; online 2016-02-09]
The immune system of an individual human is determined by heritable traits and a continuous process of adaptation to a broad variety of extrinsic, non-heritable factors such as viruses, bacteria, dietary components and more. Cytomegalovirus (CMV) successfully infects the majority of the human population and establishes latency, thereby exerting a life-long influence on the immune system of its host. CMV has been shown to influence the majority of immune parameters in healthy individuals. Here we focus on adaptive changes induced by CMV in subsets of Natural Killer (NK) cells, changes that question our very definition of adaptive and innate immunity by suggesting that adaptations of immune cells to environmental influences occur across the entire human immune system and not restricted to the classical adaptive branch of the immune system.