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J Virol. 1996 Sep;70(9):6414-7.

Large-population passages of vesicular stomatitis virus in interferon-treated cells select variants of only limited resistance.

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  • 1Department of Biology, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, 92093-0116, USA.


Vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) populations were repeatedly passaged in L-929 cells treated with alpha interferon (IFN-alpha) at levels of 25 U/ml. This IFN-alpha concentration induced a 99.9% inhibition of viral yield in standard infections. Analysis of viral fitness (overall replicative ability measured in direct competition with a reference wild-type VSV) after 21 passages in IFN-treated cells showed only a limited increase or no increase in fitness, compared with the greater increase upon parallel passage in cells not treated with IFN-alpha. However, this limited increase in fitness was more pronounced when competition assays were carried out with IFN-alpha-treated cells, suggesting the selection of VSV populations with a low level of resistance to IFN-alpha. Thus, despite the extensively documented capacity of VSV to adapt to changing environments, the antiviral state induced by IFN-alpha imposes adaptive constraints on VSV which are not readily overcome.

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