With over half the U.S. population infected, most people are familiar with the pesky cold sore outbreaks caused by the herpes virus. The virus outsmarts the immune system by interfering with the process that normally allows immune cells to recognize and destroy foreign invaders. How exactly the herpes simplex 1 virus pulls off its nifty scheme has long been elusive to scientists.
The cold sore virus, shown in pink, inserts itself into TAP, a transporter protein whose function is key to the body’s immune defenses. By jamming the transporter, the virus is able to hide from the immune system.
Credit: Laboratory of Membrane Biology and Biophysics at The Rockefeller University/Nature