Subversion of the immune response by rabies virus

12 Jan 2017

Rabies has affected mankind for several centuries and is one of the oldest known zoonoses. It is peculiar how little is known regarding the means by which rabies virus (RABV) evades the immune response and kills its host. This review investigates the complex interplay between RABV and the immune system, including the various means by which RABV evades, or advantageously utilizes, the host immune response in order to ensure successful replication and spread to another host. Different factors that influence immune responses—including age, sex, cerebral lateralization and temperature—are discussed, with specific reference to RABV and the effects on host morbidity and mortality. We also investigate the role of apoptosis and discuss whether it is a detrimental or beneficial mechanism of the host’s response to infection. The various RABV proteins and their roles in immune evasion are examined in depth with reference to important domains and the downstream effects of these interactions. Lastly, an overview of the means by which RABV evades important immune responses is provided. The research discussed in this review will be important in determining the roles of the immune response during RABV infections as well as to highlight important therapeutic target regions and potential strategies for rabies treatment.