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Adv Virol. 2012; 2012: 524743.
Published online Jul 30, 2012. doi:  10.1155/2012/524743
PMCID: PMC3413996
Orthopoxvirus Genes That Mediate Disease Virulence and Host Tropism
Sergei N. Shchelkunov 1 , 2 *
1Department of Genomic Research, State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology VECTOR, Koltsovo, Novosibirsk Region 630559, Russia
2Institute of Cytology and Genetics, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Novosibirsk 630090, Russia
*Sergei N. Shchelkunov: snshchel/at/vector.nsc.ru
Academic Editor: John Frater
Received January 24, 2012; Accepted May 31, 2012.
Abstract
In the course of evolution, viruses have developed various molecular mechanisms to evade the defense reactions of the host organism. When understanding the mechanisms used by viruses to overcome manifold defense systems of the animal organism, represented by molecular factors and cells of the immune system, we would not only comprehend better but also discover new patterns of organization and function of these most important reactions directed against infectious agents. Here, study of the orthopoxviruses pathogenic for humans, such as variola (smallpox), monkeypox, cowpox, and vaccinia viruses, may be most important. Analysis of the experimental data, presented in this paper, allows to infer that variola virus and other orthopoxviruses possess an unexampled set of genes whose protein products efficiently modulate the manifold defense mechanisms of the host organisms compared with the viruses from other families.
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