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J Virol. 2003 Dec;77(23):12753-63.

COX-2 induction during murine gammaherpesvirus 68 infection leads to enhancement of viral gene expression.

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  • 1Department of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology, the UCLA AIDS Institute, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California 90095, USA.


The murine gammaherpesvirus 68 (MHV-68 or gammaHV-68) model provides many advantages for studying virus-host interactions involved in gammaherpesvirus replication, including the role of cellular responses to infection. We examined the effects of cellular cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and its by-product prostaglandin E(2) (PGE(2)) on MHV-68 gene expression and protein production following de novo infection of cultured cells. Western blot analyses revealed an induction of COX-2 protein in MHV-68-infected cells but not in cells infected with UV-irradiated MHV-68. Luciferase reporter assays demonstrated activation of the COX-2 promoter during MHV-68 replication. Two nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, a COX-2-specific inhibitor (NS-398) and a COX-1-COX-2 inhibitor (indomethacin), substantially reduced MHV-68 protein production in infected cells. Inhibition of viral protein expression and virion production by NS-398 was reversed in the presence of exogenous PGE(2). Global gene expression analysis using an MHV-68 DNA array showed that PGE(2) increased production of multiple viral gene products, and NS-398 inhibited production of many of the same genes. These studies suggest that COX-2 activity and PGE(2) production may play significant roles during MHV-68 de novo infection.

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