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Human herpesvirus 7 infection

Cécile Tremblay, MD
Section Editor
Martin S Hirsch, MD
Deputy Editor
Anna R Thorner, MD


Human herpesvirus 7 (HHV-7) was first isolated in 1990 from the CD4+ T cells of a healthy individual whose activated cells in culture showed cytopathic effects [1]. Although its structure has been well characterized, its role in human disease has yet to be defined.


Human herpesvirus 7 (HHV-7) belongs to the Roseolovirus genus of the herpesvirus subfamily. Its linear, double-stranded DNA genome of about 145 kb shows homologies to human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) and cytomegalovirus (CMV). Mature HHV-7 particles measure 170 nm in diameter, with nucleocapsids of 90 to 95 nm and a tegument of approximately 30 nm [2]. Its DNA codes for 84 different proteins, including two major capsid proteins [3,4]. (See "Virology, pathogenesis, and epidemiology of human herpesvirus 6 infection".)

Viral genes — The HHV-7 genome is colinear with the HHV-6 genome and approximately 10 percent shorter. The overall arrangement of the genomes is similar for the two viruses. The primary divergences from HHV-6 are:

Absence of the adeno-associated virus type 2 (AAV-2) rep gene homologue found in HHV-6 (open reading frame [ORF] U94), which is associated with the viral origin of DNA replication [3].

Divergent binding properties between the respective origin binding proteins (OBPs) [5].

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Dec 04, 2015.
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