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J Virol. 2004 Dec;78(23):12964-74.

Cyclooxygenase-1 and -2 are required for production of infectious pseudorabies virus.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Biology, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544, USA.


We have recently shown that cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) transcription is markedly induced after herpes simplex virus type 1 and pseudorabies virus (PRV) infections of rat embryonic fibroblast (REF) cells (N. Ray and L. W. Enquist, J. Virol. 78:3489-3501, 2004). For this study, we investigated the role of cyclooxygenase induction in the replication and growth of PRV. We demonstrate here a concordant increase in COX-2 mRNA and protein levels after the infection of REF cells. Inhibitors blocking the activity of cyclooxygenases caused a dramatic reduction in PRV growth. Viral growth could be restored if prostaglandin E(2), the final product of COX-2 activity, was added simultaneously with the COX inhibitors. Immediate-early protein IE180, major capsid protein VP5, and glycoprotein expression were slightly reduced in the presence of COX-2 inhibitors, but expression of the early protein EP0 was not affected by COX inhibition. Viral DNA replication was marginally reduced in the presence of a COX-1/2 inhibitor, but there was no defect in viral DNA cleavage. Electron microscopy analysis revealed an increased number of unusual empty capsid structures in the nuclei of cells infected with PRV in the presence of a COX-1/2 inhibitor. These capsid structures shared some characteristics with procapsids but had a novel appearance by negative staining. Our data establish a role for COX-1 and COX-2 in facilitating the efficient growth and replication of PRV in primary cells.

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