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Virology. 2000 May 10;270(2):278-85.

Varicella-zoster virus infection of a human CD4-positive T-cell line.

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Department of Pediatrics, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305-5208, USA.


Varicella-zoster virus (VZV) is a human alpha-herpesvirus that causes varicella (chickenpox) at primary infection and may reactivate as herpes zoster. VZV is a T-lymphotropic virus in vivo. To investigate the T-cell tropism of VZV, we constructed a recombinant virus expressing green fluorescent protein (VZV-GFP) under the CMV IE promoter. Coculture of VZV-GFP-infected fibroblasts with II-23 cells, a CD4-positive human T-cell hybridoma, resulted in transfer of virus to II-23 cells. II-23 cells are susceptible to VZV-GFP infection as demonstrated by expression of immediate/early (IE62), early (ORF4), and late (gE) genes. Recovery of infectious virus was limited, with only 1 to 3 in 10(6) cells releasing infectious virus by plaque assay, indicating that transfer of virus results in a limited productive infection. In vitro infection of II-23 cells will be useful for further analysis of VZV tropism for T-lymphocytes.

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