Marek's disease virus: Lytic replication, oncogenesis and control

Keith W. Jarosinski, B. Karsten Tischer, Sascha Trapp, Nikolaus Osterrieder

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Marek's disease (MD) is caused by a ubiquitous, lymphotropic alphaherpesvirus, MD virus (MDV). MD has been a major concern in the poultry industry owing to the emergence of increasingly virulent strains over the last few decades that were isolated in the face of comprehensive vaccination. The disease is characterized by a variety of clinical signs; among them are neurological symptoms, chronic wasting and, most notably, the development of multiple lymphomas that manifest as solid tumors in the viscera and musculature. Much work has been devoted to study MD-induced oncogenesis and the genes involved in this process. Among the many genes encoded by MDV, a number have been shown recently to affect the development of tumors in chickens, one protein directly causing transformation of cells (Meq) and another being involved in maintaining transformed cells (vTR). Other MDV gene products modulate and are involved in early lytic in vivo replication, thereby increasing the chance of transformation occurring. In this review, we will summarize specific genes encoded by MDV that are involved in the initiation and/or maintenance of transformation and will focus mostly on current vaccination and control strategies against MD, particularly how modern molecular biological methods may be used to improve strategies to combat the disease in the future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)761-772
Number of pages12
JournalExpert review of vaccines
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Herpesvirus
  • Marek's disease virus
  • Oncogenes
  • Oncogenesis
  • Vaccine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery


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