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J Gen Virol. 2006 May;87(Pt 5):1123-32.

Mixed infection with multiple strains of murine cytomegalovirus occurs following simultaneous or sequential infection of immunocompetent mice.

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Discipline of Microbiology, School of Biomedical and Chemical Sciences, M502, University of Western Australia, Crawley.


As with human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) infection of humans, murine CMV (MCMV) infection is widespread in its natural host, the house mouse Mus domesticus, and may consist of mixed infection with different CMV isolates. The incidence and mechanisms by which mixed infection occurs in free-living mice are unknown. This study used two approaches to determine whether mixed infection with MCMV could be established in laboratory mice. The first utilized two naturally occurring MCMV strains, N1 and G4, into which the lacZ gene was inserted by homologous recombination. The lacZ gene was used to track recombinant and parental viruses in simultaneously coinfected mice. In the second approach, a real-time quantitative PCR (qPCR) assay was used to detect viral immediate-early 1 (ie1) gene sequences in mice successively coinfected with G4 and then with the K181 MCMV strain. In both systems, mixed infection was detected in the salivary glands and lungs of experimentally infected mice. MCMV-specific antibody in sera and G4 IE1-specific cytotoxic lymphocyte responses in the spleens of twice-infected mice did not prevent reinfection. Finally, the prevalence of mixed infection in free-living mice trapped in four Australian locations was investigated using real-time qPCR to detect ie1 DNA sequences of N1, G4 and K181. Mixed infection with MCMVs containing the G4 and K181 ie1 sequences was detected in the salivary glands of 34.2 % of trapped mice. The observations that mixed infections are common in free-living M. domesticus and are acquired by immunocompetent mice through simultaneous or successive infections are important for vaccine development.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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