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J Virol. 1992 Jun;66(6):3794-802.

Cytomegalovirus determinant of replication in salivary glands.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Stanford University School of Medicine, California 94305-5402.


Murine cytomegalovirus carrying a deletion mutation disrupting the expression of a gene dispensable for growth in cultured cells was found to disseminate poorly in the mouse. The mutation resulted in a dramatic decrease in the expression of a 1.5-kb major and a 1.8-kb minor beta transcript from a region adjacent to the ie2 gene in the viral genome. Nucleotide sequence determination indicated that 323 bp, including a predicted polyadenylation signal, was deleted from this beta gene. In cultured cells, the plaque morphology and growth characteristics of the mutant were similar to those of parental or rescued wild-type viruses. Following intraperitoneal inoculation of BALB/c mice, growth of the mutant in the salivary gland was dramatically reduced 10,000-fold, while growth in the liver and spleen was not dramatically affected. The beta gene was thus denoted sgg1 (salivary gland growth gene 1). Neither intranasal infection nor direct inoculation into the salivary glands completely overcame the restriction of growth in this organ, suggesting that the sgg1 gene encoded a determinant of tissue tropism. To investigate the impact of the sgg1 mutation on virus dissemination via the blood, the virus titer in peripheral blood leukocytes was determined. No difference was found between the sgg1 mutant and rescued wild-type virus. Thus, murine cytomegalovirus sgg1 gene products appear to be involved in entry or replication of virus in salivary gland cells.

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