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J Virol. 2000 Oct;74(19):9333-7.

Human cytomegalovirus latency-associated protein pORF94 is dispensable for productive and latent infection.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California 94305-5124, USA.


Human cytomegalovirus latency in bone marrow-derived myeloid progenitors is characterized by the presence of latency-associated transcripts encoded in the ie1/ie2 region of the viral genome. To assess the role of ORF94 (UL126a), a conserved open reading frame on these transcripts, a recombinant virus (RC2710) unable to express this gene was constructed. This virus replicated at wild-type levels and expressed productive as well as latency-associated ie1/ie2 region transcripts. During latency in granulocyte-macrophage progenitors, RC2710 DNA was detected at levels indistinguishable from wild-type virus, latent-phase transcription was present, and RC2710 reactivated when latently infected cells were cocultured with permissive fibroblasts. These data suggest pORF94 is not required for either productive or latent infection as assayed in cultured cells despite being the only known nuclear latency-associated protein.

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