Viruses 2017 07 129(7) pii 10.3390/v9070184
Human herpesvirus 6A and 6B, alongside some other herpesviruses, have the striking capacity to integrate into telomeres, the terminal repeated regions of chromosomes. The chromosomally integrated forms, ciHHV-6A and ciHHV-6B, are proposed to be a state of latency and it has been shown that they can both be inherited if integration occurs in the germ line. The first step in full viral reactivation must be the release of the integrated viral genome from the telomere and here we propose various models of this release involving transcription of the viral genome, replication fork collapse, and t-circle mediated release. In this review, we also discuss the relationship between ciHHV-6 and the telomere carrying the insertion, particularly how the presence and subsequent partial or complete release of the ciHHV-6 genome may affect telomere dynamics and the risk of disease.