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Br J Haematol. 2004 Aug;126(3):410-7.

Human cytomegalovirus persists in myeloid progenitors and is passed to the myeloid progeny in a latent form.

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Department of Microbiology and Cell and Molecular Biology Program, School of Medicine, University of Nevada, Reno, NV 89577, USA.


CD34+ progenitor cells can harbour latent human cytomegalovirus (HCMV); however, the mechanisms of HCMV latency remain unclear. We have investigated the effects of the haematopoietic lineage restriction on the establishment and spread of the latent HCMV to progeny cells. In vitro-infected and latently-infected haematopoietic progenitor cells derived from HCMV seropositive donors were studied. The presence of HCMV DNA in bone marrow progenitor (BMP) cells was determined by single colony polymerase chain reaction and fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH). The presence of CMV DNA was found to be restricted to myeloid progenitors and the percentage of HCMV-infected cells was lower in naturally-infected cells than in in vitro-infected cells. Erythroid differentiation resulted in an abortive infection with persistence of the viral nucleic acids in red cell precursors. In BMP cells from HCMV seronegative donors, HCMV DNA was localized in the nucleus. Bone marrow progenitors in the presence of granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor (GMCSF) maintained HCMV DNA for extended periods of time. No viral production could be detected throughout the culture but the comparison of the numbers of latently-infected cells prior to and after the culture suggests that proliferation of haematopoietic progenitor cells may lead to the expansion of latently-infected cells.

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