Viral modulation of the immune response

Research summary:

We are investigating immune evasion mechanisms employed by large DNA viruses, poxviruses and herpesviruses. Specifically, we are characterizing viral proteins that are secreted from infected cells, interact with cytokines and chemokines, and control their immunomodulatory activity. We work on two virus systems: (1) Herpesviruses like herpes simplex virus, a human pathogen of clinical relevance; and (2) Poxviruses such as vaccinia virus, the smallpox vaccine. These viral cytokine receptors have unexpected properties, enhancing the activity of chemokines or binding to the cell surface to be retained in the vicinity of infected tissues, and provide insights into the function of cytokines. The contribution of viral cytokine receptors to pathogenesis and immune modulation is being addressed in mice infected with ectromelia virus, a natural mouse pathogen that causes a smallpox-like disease known as mousepox.

Viruses offer a unique opportunity to develop their immune evasion strategies, optimized for millions of years of evolution, as novel therapeutic approaches. In collaboration with Biotech Companies, we are developing viral immunomodulatory proteins as potential medicaments to treat human allergic and autoimmune diseases. We are sequencing the complete genome of large DNA viruses in order to identify new viral genes involved in pathogenesis and immune modulation, including natural isolates of ectromelia virus and new iridoviruses infecting fish and amphibian. Viruses are the most abundant and diverse biological entities on Earth. Following metagenomic approaches, we are characterizing complex viral communities using next generation sequencing methodologies (454-Roche, Illumina). We described for the first time the viral community in an Antarctic lake and are expanding these studies to other lakes along the Antarctic Peninsula and in the Arctic. Viral metagenomics is being used to identify viruses associated with human pathologies, such as multiple sclerosis.

Virus-encoded chemokine binding proteins.


Electron micrograph of an ectromelia virus-infected cell showing inclusion body with mature virus particles.


* For external calls please dial 34 91196 followed by the extension number
Last nameNameLaboratoryExt.*e-mailProfessional category
Alcamí PertejoAntonio2034560aalcami(at)cbm.csic.esE. Profesores de Investigación de Organismos Públicos de Investigación
Alonso SánchezMaría Isabel2034590ialonso(at)cbm.csic.esContrato Predoctoral
Alvarez de Miranda RodríguezFrancisco Javier2034590fj.alvarez(at)cbm.csic.esTitulado Sup. Actividades Tecn. y Prof.GP1
Camacho CanoEsther2034590ecamacho(at)cbm.uam.esTitulado Sup. Actividades Tecn. y Prof.GP1
Fernández MoyanoMª Carmen2034590mcfernandez(at)cbm.csic.esE.Ayudantes De Invest. De Los Oo.Publicos De Investigacion
Hernáez de la PlazaBruno2034590bhernaez(at)cbm.csic.esTitulado Sup. Actividades Tecn. y Prof.GP1 Indef.
Martín HernándezMª Rocío2034590mrmartin(at)cbm.csic.esTécnico Sup. Actividades Tecn. y Prof.GP3 Indef.
Rastrojo LastrasAlberto2034590arastrojo(at)cbm.csic.esProfesor Contratado Universidad, GA
Salazar JuradoMiguel Angel2034690Estudiante TFG
Sánchez CarrilloSergio2034590Titulado Sup. Actividades Tecn. y Prof.GP1
Sánchez FernándezCarolina2034590carolina_s(at)cbm.csic.esTécnico Sup. Actividades Tec. y Profes.GP3
Sánchiz GiraldoÁfrica3024590asanchiz(at)cbm.csic.esTitulado Sup. Actividades Tecn. y Prof.GP1
Vázquez CalvoAngela2034590avazquez(at)cbm.csic.esTitulado Sup. Actividades Tecn. y Prof.GP1

Relevant publications:

  • Alcami, A. and Moss, B. (2011) Smallpox Vaccines. In: Khan, A. S. and Smith, G. L. (eds) Scientific Review of Variola Virus Research 1999-2010. World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland, pp. 1-15.
  • Alejo, A., Pontejo, S. M., and Alcami, A. (2011) Poxviral TNFRs: properties and role in viral pathogenesis. Adv. Exp. Med. Biol.691, 203-210.
  • Montanuy, I., Alejo, A., and Alcami, A. (2011) Glycosaminoglycans mediate retention of the poxvirus type I interferon binding protein at the cell surface to locally block interferon antiviral responses. FASEB J25, 1960-1971.
  • Xu, R., Rubio, D., Roscoe, F., Krouse, T. E., Truckenmiller, M. E., Norbury, C. C., Hudson, P. N., Damon, I. K., Alcami A., and Sigal, L. J. (2012) Antibody inhibition of a viral type I interferon decoy receptor cures a viral disease by restoring interferon signaling in the liver. PLoS Pathogens 8(1):e1002475.
  • Viejo-Borbolla, A., Martinez-Martín, N., Nel, H. J., Rueda, P., Martín, R., Blanco, S., Arenzana-Seisdedos, F., Thelen, M., Fallon, P. G., and Alcami, A. (2012) Enhancement of chemokine function as an immunomodulatory strategy employed by human herpesviruses. PLoS Pathogens 8(2): e1002497.

Doctoral theses:

  • Sergio Martín Pontejo (2012). Características moleculares y funcionales de los receptores solubles del TNF con capacidad anti-quimioquinas de poxvirus. Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. Directores: Begoña Ruiz Argüello y Antonio Alcamí.
  • Marcos Palomo (2012). Caracterización de inhibidores solubles de interferón codificados por poxvirus. Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. Director: Antonio Alcamí.
  • Nadia Martínez Martín (2012). Herpes simples virus glycoprotein G enhances chemotaxis and axonal growth through modification of plasma membrane microdomains and receptor trafficking. Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. Directores: Abel Viejo Borbolla y Antonio Alcamí.


  • Martín-Pontejo, S. y Alcami, A. Unión a glicosaminoglicanos de proteínas con dominio SECRET codificadas por poxvirus. Número de prioridad: P201230540. País: España. Fechas de prioridad: 11 abril 2012. Propietario: CSIC.
  • Cabrera, J. R., Viejo-Borbolla, A., Martínez-Martín, N., Wandosell, F. y Alcami, A.. 'Proteína viral recombinante SgG2 y/o complejos binarios SgG2-FNs para su uso en crecimiento y/o regeneración axonal'. Número de prioridad: P201231654. País: España. Fecha de prioridad: 26 octubre 2012. Propietario: CSIC.

Other activities:

  • Member of the Editorial Board of Virology.
  • Member of the Editorial Board of Journal of Virology.
  • Advisor to the World Health Organization Advisory Committee on Variola Virus Research.
  • Organizer, together with R. Blasco and E. Villar, of the XIX International Poxvirus, Asfarvirus and Iridovirus Conference. Salamanca, June 2012.
  • The Group participates in the Spanish Network of Multiple Sclerosis (

NOTE! This site uses cookies and similar technologies.

If you not change browser settings, you agree to it. Learn more

I understand


What are cookies?

A cookie is a file that is downloaded to your computer when you access certain web pages. Cookies allow a web page, among other things, to store and retrieve information about the browsing habits of a user or their equipment and, depending on the information they contain and the way they use their equipment, they can be used to recognize the user.

Types of cookies

Classification of cookies is made according to a series of categories. However, it is necessary to take into account that the same cookie can be included in more than one category.

  1. Cookies according to the entity that manages them

    Depending on the entity that manages the computer or domain from which the cookies are sent and treat the data obtained, we can distinguish:

    • Own cookies: those that are sent to the user's terminal equipment from a computer or domain managed by the editor itself and from which the service requested by the user is provided.
    • Third party cookies: those that are sent to the user's terminal equipment from a computer or domain that is not managed by the publisher, but by another entity that processes the data obtained through the cookies. When cookies are installed from a computer or domain managed by the publisher itself, but the information collected through them is managed by a third party, they cannot be considered as own cookies.

  2. Cookies according to the period of time they remain activated

    Depending on the length of time that they remain activated in the terminal equipment, we can distinguish:

    • Session cookies: type of cookies designed to collect and store data while the user accesses a web page. They are usually used to store information that only is kept to provide the service requested by the user on a single occasion (e.g. a list of products purchased).
    • Persistent cookies: type of cookies in which the data is still stored in the terminal and can be accessed and processed during a period defined by the person responsible for the cookie, which can range from a few minutes to several years.

  3. Cookies according to their purpose

    Depending on the purpose for which the data obtained through cookies are processed, we can distinguish between:

    • Technical cookies: those that allow the user to navigate through a web page, platform or application and the use of different options or services that exist in it, such as controlling traffic and data communication, identifying the session, access to restricted access parts, remember the elements that make up an order, perform the purchase process of an order, make a registration or participation in an event, use security elements during navigation, store content for the broadcast videos or sound or share content through social networks.
    • Personalization cookies: those that allow the user to access the service with some predefined general characteristics based on a series of criteria in the user's terminal, such as the language, the type of browser through which the user accesses the service, the regional configuration from where you access the service, etc.
    • Analytical cookies: those that allow the person responsible for them to monitor and analyse the behaviour of the users of the websites to which they are linked. The information collected through this type of cookies is used in the measurement of the activity of the websites, applications or platforms, and for the elaboration of navigation profiles of the users of said sites, applications and platforms, in order to introduce improvements in the analysis of the data of use made by the users of the service.

Cookies used on our website

The CBMSO website uses Google Analytics. Google Analytics is a simple and easy to use tool that helps website owners to measure how users interact with the content of the site. You can consult more information about the cookies used by Google Analitycs in this link.

Acceptance of the Cookies Policy

The CBMSO assumes that you accept the use of cookies if you continue browsing, considering that it is a conscious and positive action from which the user's consent is inferred. In this regard, you are previously informed that such behaviour will be interpreted that you accept the installation and use of cookies.

Knowing this information, it is possible to carry out the following actions:

  • Accept cookies: if the user presses the acceptance button, this warning will not be displayed again when accessing any page of the portal.
  • Review the cookies policy: the user can access to this page in which the use of cookies is detailed, as well as links to modify the browser settings.

How to modify the configuration of cookies

Using your browser you can restrict, block or delete cookies from any web page. In each browser the process is different, here we show you links on this particular of the most used browsers: