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J Virol. 2000 Jan;74(1):513-7.

Human cytomegalovirus infects Caco-2 intestinal epithelial cells basolaterally regardless of the differentiation state.

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  • 1Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, Unité 510, Pathogènes et Fonctions des Cellules Epithéliales Polarisées, Faculté de Pharmacie, Université Paris XI, 92296 Châtenay-Malabry Cedex, France.


Human cytomegalovirus (CMV) causes severe disease in immunosuppressed patients and notably infects the gastrointestinal tract. To understand the interaction of CMV with intestinal epithelial cells, which are highly susceptible to CMV infection in vivo, we used the intestinal epithelial cell line Caco-2 and demonstrated that CMV enters predominantly through the basolateral surface of polarized Caco-2 cells. As shown by expression of all three classes of CMV proteins and by visualization of nucleocapsids by transmission electron microscopy, both poorly and fully differentiated Caco-2 cells were permissive to CMV replication. However, infection failed to produce infectious particles in Caco-2 cells, irrespective of the state of differentiation.

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