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J Virol. 2006 Jan;80(1):537-40.

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infects neuronal cells and processes that innervate the lung by a process involving RSV G protein.

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  • 1Department of Infectious Diseases, University of Georgia, College of Veterinary Medicine, Athens, GA 30602, USA.


Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a primary cause of morbidity and life-threatening lower respiratory tract disease in infants and young children. Children with acute RSV bronchiolitis often develop respiratory sequelae, but the disease mechanisms are poorly understood. Mounting evidence suggests that RSV may mediate persistent infection. Using immunohistochemistry to identify RSV and RSV-infected cell types, we show that RSV infects primary neurons and neuronal processes that innervate the lungs through a process that involves RSV G protein and the G protein CX3C motif. These findings suggest a mechanism for disease chronicity and have important implications for RSV disease intervention strategies.

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