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Virology. 2007 Jun 20;363(1):174-88. Epub 2007 Feb 27.

Ectopic expression of HCMV IE72 and IE86 proteins is sufficient to induce early gene expression but not production of infectious virus in undifferentiated promonocytic THP-1 cells.

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3-701 BSB, 51 Newton Road, Department of Microbiology, Carver College of Medicine, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA.


Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) reactivation from latency causes disease in individuals who are immunocompromised or immunosuppressed. Activation of the major immediate-early (MIE) promoter is thought to be an initial step for reactivation. We determined whether expression of the MIE gene products in trans was sufficient to circumvent an HCMV latent-like state in an undifferentiated transformed human promonocytic (THP)-1 cell model system. Expression of the functional MIE proteins was achieved with a replication-defective adenovirus vector, Ad-IE1/2, which contains the MIE gene locus. Expression of the MIE proteins by Ad-IE1/2 prior to HCMV infection induced viral early gene expression accompanied by an increase in active chromatin signals. Expression of the anti-apoptotic protein encoded by UL37x1 increased viral early gene expression. However, viral DNA replication and production of infectious virus was not detected. As expected, cellular differentiation with phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate and hydrocortisone induced virus production. Cellular differentiation is required for efficient viral reactivation.

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