Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) is the most recently discovered human herpesvirus. It is the aetiological agent of Kaposi's sarcoma (KS), a tumour frequently affecting AIDS patients not receiving treatment. KSHV is also a likely cause of two lymphoproliferative diseases: multicentric Castleman's disease and primary effusion lymphoma. The study of KSHV offers exciting challenges for understanding the mechanisms of virus pathogenesis, including those involved in establishing infection and dissemination in the host. To facilitate these processes, approximately one-quarter of KSHV genes encode cellular homologues or unique proteins that have immunomodulatory roles in cytokine production, apoptosis, cell signalling and the immunological synapse. The activities of these molecules are considered in the present review and the positions of their genes are mapped from a complete KSHV genome sequence derived from a KS biopsy. The understanding gained enables the significance of different components of the immune response in protection against KSHV infection to be evaluated. It also helps to unravel the complexities of cellular and immunological pathways and offers the potential for exploiting viral immunomodulators and derivatives in disease therapy.