Adler Lab - Research
Human cytomegalovirus can cause life-threatening infections in immunocompromised hosts and is the leading cause of birth defects among congenitally transmitted viral infections. Currently, no approved vaccines exist which can protect from HCMV infection. This is mainly due to an elaborate viral machinery that in many ways interferes with the innate and adaptive antiviral immune responses of humans.
In the past, elucidating this viral interference has strongly contributed to understanding human and mouse immune defense pathways. The capacity to shape the immune response of their hosts makes cytomegaloviruses highly interesting vectors for vaccination or tumor therapy. Recent research indicates that virus mutants lacking specific viral immune regulatory genes differentially protect from e.g. HIV or Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Future prospects are custom-made CMV vectors for vaccination against specific infectious agents or treatment of diverse types of cancer.
We are specifically interested in CMV envelope glycoprotein complexes, which simultaneously promote virus entry and shape antiviral immune responses.