Haemtopoietic cell differentiation is a complex process that is dictated by specific patterns of gene expression, 3D DNA architecture and epigenetic landscape acting in response to signalling cues. Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is a herpesvirus that establishes lifelong latent infections in the haematopoietic cell compartment. Recent evidence indicates that HCMV ‘reprogrammes’ infected CD34+ cells committing them myelo-monocytic fate during differentiation which we hypothesise is via manipulation of intracellular signalling and subsequent consequences for downstream gene expression. Our vision is to use the virus as a molecular tool to identify fundamental signalling events that underpin changes important for cell fate.
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