Cytomegalovirus latency in the central nervous system



Project title: Cytomegalovirus latency in the central nervous system

Grantor: Croatian Science Foundation

Grantor’s website:

Grant number: HRZZ-IP-2022-10-3371

Coordinator: Assoc. prof. dr. Ilija Brizic

Research team:

Prof. dr. Stipan Jonjic
Dr. Marina Pribanic Matesic
Dr. Carmen Rozmanic
Fran Krstanovic, mag. biochem.
Andrea Mihalic, mag. biotech. in med.

Total funding: EUR 198.984,67

Brief description:

Many viruses can cause persistent or latent infections and/or inflammation in the CNS. Congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection is a major cause of trans-placentally transmitted congenital infections and may result in a wide range of structural and functional disabilities and permanent neurological sequelae. Our data suggests that mouse CMV (MCMV) becomes latent in the CNS, a condition associated with life-long retention of tissue-resident T cells and an activated microglial phenotype. In this project, we aim to investigate: 1) whether MCMV is reactivating from brain cells and spreading to other cells, 2) the role of activated microglia in controlling the latent virus, and 3) brain structural and functional changes caused by latent CMV infection in the brain during aging. Overall, our goal is to understand the mechanisms of CNS damage during latent infection, along with the associated immune response, which is crucial for developing more effective interventional therapies.