Species-Specific Host–Virus Interactions: Implications for Viral Host Range and Virulence

Stefan Rothenburg, Greg Brennan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


A growing number of studies indicate that host species-specific and virus strain-specific interactions of viral molecules with the host innate immune system play a pivotal role in determining virus host range and virulence. Because interacting proteins are likely constrained in their evolution, mutations that are selected to improve virus replication in one species may, by chance, alter the ability of a viral antagonist to inhibit immune responses in hosts the virus has not yet encountered. Based on recent findings of host-species interactions of poxvirus, herpesvirus, and influenza virus proteins, we propose a model for viral fitness and host range which considers the full interactome between a specific host species and a virus, resulting from the combination of all interactions, positive and negative, that influence whether a virus can productively infect a cell and cause disease in different hosts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalTrends in Microbiology
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019


  • herpesvirus, influenza virus
  • host–pathogen interactions
  • PKR
  • poxvirus
  • viral fitness interactome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology


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