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J Gen Virol. 2002 Dec;83(Pt 12):2943-50.

Stability and circularization of herpes simplex virus type 1 genomes in quiescently infected PC12 cultures.

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Jefferson Center for Biomedical Research of Thomas Jefferson University, 700 E. Butler Ave, Doylestown, PA 18901-2697, USA.


Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) DNA has been shown to exist as a linear, double-stranded molecule in the virion and as a non-linear (endless), episomal, nucleosomal form in latently infected trigeminal ganglia. The kinetics of the formation and appearance of endless viral genomes and the stability of linear genomes in neuronal cells are not well understood. Nerve growth factor (NGF)-differentiated PC12 cells can sustain long-term, quiescent infections with HSV-1. In this report, the structure and stability of HSV-1 viral DNA in NGF-differentiated PC12 cells was studied as a function of time following infection using both wild-type and replication-defective virus. Unexpectedly, unencapsidated linear genomes were stable in the nucleus of NGF-differentiated PC12 cells for up to 2-3 weeks following infection, beyond the period at which there is no detectable viral gene expression. However, following infection with wild-type HSV, the majority of quiescent viral genomes were in an endless form after 3-4 weeks. These data suggest that the stability and fate of HSV-1 DNA in non-mitotic neuronal-like cells is different from that in productively infected cells and thus there is a significant cellular role in this process. The relevance to the virus life-cycle in neurones in vivo is discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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