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Immunogenetic determinants of HSV-2 infection and disease

Infection with genital Herpes Simplex virus-2 (HSV-2) is life-long, and there is currently no cure or vaccine despite decades of effort. Through our proposed studies using the Collaborative Cross in conjunction with a mouse model of vaginal HSV-2 infection, we expect to uncover novel genetic regions associated with HSV-2 shedding and disease phenotypes, as well as with tissue-specific immune responses to infection. A deeper understanding of how host genetics regulate HSV-2 disease outcomes and immunity at the mucosal pathogen portal of entry, the genital tract, will not only pave the way for the generation of novel immunotherapeutic and prevention strategies for HSV-2 infection, but also for other sexually-transmitted infections.