Pathogenesis of Adenoviruses

Summary Points

  • Adenoviruses primarily infect host epithelial tissues in the lungs and enteric organs
  • Adenoviruses can inhibit macromolecular synthesis and the transports of host mRNA to the cytoplasm of the cell, which facilitates cell death
  • Adenoviruses can remain latent in their hosts for years
  • The penton protein of adenoviruses can be virulent to their host

When an adenovirus enters its host, it will typically replicate in the epithelial cells that line the lungs or other enteric organs. After several replication cycles, the virus will being to inhibit host macromolecular synthesis and transport of mRNA to the cytoplasm. These cellular disturbances will kill host cells and can begin to cause disease symptoms, such as respiratory stress in their host.

In addition to the symptoms caused by the cell lysing and inhibition of cellular synthesis, studies have implied that the penton protein of adenoviruses is virulent. The penton protein has caused cells to detach from monolayers in laboratory settings. The importance of the finding in a clinical setting, however, has yet to be elucidated.

Latency is an important feature of adenoviruses. Even when the disease symptoms disappear in a patient, the virus can still remain latent in a person's body. Generally, the viruses can be found in lymphoid tissue, such as adenoids, tonsils, or Peyer's patches.

Above: Picture of lung epithelial cells, image courtesy of picts/Big_epth.htm; Below: Cartoon showing human adenoids, image coutesy of sec51adenoid.htm
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