Published online Nov 12, 2016. doi: 10.5501/wjv.v5.i4.144
Peer-review started: May 30, 2016
First decision: July 6, 2016
Revised: July 19, 2016
Accepted: August 6, 2016
Article in press: August 8, 2016
Published online: November 12, 2016
The Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway is instrumental in successful differentiation and proliferation of mammalian cells. It is therefore not surprising that the herpesvirus family has developed mechanisms to interact with and manipulate this pathway. Successful coexistence with the host requires that herpesviruses establish a lifelong infection that includes periods of latency and reactivation or persistence. Many herpesviruses establish latency in progenitor cells and viral reactivation is linked to host-cell proliferation and differentiation status. Importantly, Wnt/β-catenin is tightly connected to stem/progenitor cell maintenance and differentiation. Numerous studies have linked Wnt/β-catenin signaling to a variety of cancers, emphasizing the importance of Wnt/β-catenin pathways in development, tissue homeostasis and disease. This review details how the alpha-, beta-, and gammaherpesviruses interact and manipulate the Wnt/β-catenin pathway to promote a virus-centric agenda.
Core tip: The Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway is essential for many host cell functions. Herpesviruses have evolved to manipulate and control this vital pathway to promote viral propagation, evade host immune recognition and maintain latency.