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J Med Virol. 2003;70 Suppl 1:S103-10.

Imaging of the varicella zoster virion in the viral highways: comparison with herpes simplex viruses 1 and 2, cytomegalovirus, pseudorabies virus, and human herpes viruses 6 and 7.

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Departments of Microbiology and Pediatrics, University of Iowa, 200 Hawkins Drive, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA.


Imaging by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) can provide insight into viral egress. At a low magnification level, varicella zoster virions (VZV) emerge from an infected cell surface in a distinctive pattern previously described as "viral highways." Viral highways consist of thousands of particles arranged in linear pathways across the syncytial surface. This egress pattern has not been described with other herpesviruses, but a systematic analysis has not been performed. Therefore, the characteristic arrangement of VZV egress was compared with that of six other members of the herpes virus family, including herpes simplex virus (HSV) types 1 and 2, human cytomegalovirus (CMV), pseudorabies virus (PRV), and human herpesvirus types 6 and 7 (HHV-6 and HHV-7). Only VZV-infected cells exhibited viral highways. Subsequent SEM examination of VZ virions at an ultra high-resolution revealed that more than 70% were aberrant. Further imaging of the other herpesviruses demonstrated that VZV structure was more closely related to PRV than HSV-1 or HSV-2. Finally, it is noted that the individual members of the herpesvirus family have distinguishable SEM profiles.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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